A sea-change has occurred for investors and technology companies relating to a major shift from desktop computing to mobile computing. Mobile apps, mobile search, mobile ads, mobile transactions and mobile hardware are changing the investing criteria for everyone today. Identifying ground-floor opportunities in the form of new stocks that are sitting on the launch pad ready for takeoff is of utmost importance for maximizing gains. Lets review five companies set to launch as great investment vehicles for the short and long term.
Millennial Media (MM) - Millennial Media, Inc. provides mobile advertising solutions worldwide. It operates MYDAS, a mobile advertising technology platform for developers and advertisers. The company provides tools and services to developers that allow their apps to display banner ads, interactive rich media ads, and video ads through its platform. The company's solutions for developers include software development kits that allows apps to receive rich media, banner displays, and video adds; mediation tools, which allow developers to allocate ad requests among various advertising campaign sources; and data and analytics that comprise comprehensive ad revenue generation reports for their apps across various mobile operating systems. It also enables advertisers to gain insights into the performance of their ad campaigns and to manage their campaigns. Companies like Millennial Media are seeing their shares move up on the recent success of Facebook's entry into the mobile advertising area. Yahoo's (YHOO) new transformation into a mobile-first company led by their new CEO Marissa Mayer has opened up a new opportunity for Millennial Media related to being a possible acquisition candidate, not only for Yahoo but Microsoft (MSFT) and others.
Mimvi (MIMV.OB) - Mimvi, Inc. is a new kind of mobile app search, content and product discovery company designed for Windows 8, Apple's iOS and Google's (GOOG) Android platform. Attached to Mimvi is one of the largest rocket boosters a company can have as it comes in the form of attracting the attention of Microsoft, among others, along with a recent partnership with Microsoft including investment. I had a chance to speak to some of the management team at Mimvi about their plans with Microsoft's new cloud, mobile and search initiatives, which are large and aggressive. These initiatives include establishing what they are calling a "basecamp" on the Windows Azure Cloud platform to service internal Microsoft groups and other Microsoft partners. Some of the other initiatives include combining Mimvi's mobile app search results with Bing search results. This is significant as Microsoft's Bing also powers Yahoo and Facebook. Mimvi will also be working closely with Microsoft's Windows 8 mobile engineers to develop several search, discovery, recommendation and social related mobile apps for Surface tablets. There is a large hidden opportunity here as Microsoft plans to enable its Windows 8 mobile apps to also run on the 400 million desktops and tablets that Microsoft controls around the world. A consumer audience like this is bigger than Apple and Google combined. With the support of several internal groups in Microsoft, the largest software company in the world, and having the inside track and access to Microsoft's vast resources and partners, the revenue, distribution and marketing opportunities are fast-tracked for Mimvi and are just about infinite. Mimvi is working on other large partnerships as well. These rocket launchers attached to Mimvi are certainly aimed toward an uplisting to NASDAQ, and similar to Millenial Media, a potential target for acquisition by multiple players, making Mimvi an early target for early investors.
Vringo (VRNG) - Vringo, Inc., now competing with Google over patents, develops and provides software products for mobile video entertainment, personalization, and mobile social applications. Its video ringtone solutions, and other mobile social and video applications comprise a suite of mobile and PC-based tools that enable users to create, download, and share video and other social content. The company offers various mobile video, personalization, and mobile social application platforms, such as Video Ringtones platform, which allows users to create, download, and share mobile entertainment content in the form of video ringtones for mobile phones; Facetones, a social ringtone platform that allows users to create social picture ringtone and ringback content in the form of animated slideshows sourced from friends social networks; Video ReMix platform, which allows users to download an application for iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android phones, and create their own music video by tapping on various music beats and video files; and Fan Loyalty platform that allows users to obtain video and video ringtones, view information on reality television series and stars, and vote for contestants. Vringo is in a competitive area related to a patent battle with Google where billions hang in the balance. Even with a settlement win, Vringo stands to benefit significantly as it has laid claim to much of what is responsible for Google's success as a search engine and mobile search provider.
TagLikeMe (TAGG.OB) - TagLikeMe Corp. is a search aggregator, as opposed to being a search engine, and has commenced development of the mobile Windows Surface 8 Tablet App of its social search and sharing platform TagLikeMe.com. In addition, TagLikeMe.com is a new, shared social information network that allows individuals or groups to search, tag (or bookmark) and share all forms of digital content privately or publicly using cloud based technology. Its next-generation search and share technology has powerful features for collaborating search and sharing all online digital content from a single location. TagLikeMe versions are scheduled for release for all major mobile platforms in 2012. Microsoft announced the introduction of its new Surface Tablet mobile computing device in April 2012. The company expects to release the units to the public in tandem with the introduction of Windows 8 scheduled for October 26, 2012. According to Microsoft, the Surface Tablet will operate on the new Windows 8 operating system. Similar to Mimvi, it has also started development of the mobile Android app version of its social search, tag and sharing platform. Google's Android platform is designed primarily for smartphones and tablets, however the open and customizable nature of the operating system allows it to be used on other electronics, including laptops and netbooks, smartbooks, ebook readers, and smart TVs (Google TV). It is considered the fastest growing mobile platform in the world used by more than 300 million devices.
Zynga (ZNGA) - After Zynga's earning release, Wall Street recently liked what it heard on CEO Mark Pincus' plans to make money on mobile and online gambling; the stock soared more than 10 percent after hours. This after the company announced Tuesday that it's slashing 5 percent of its staff and shutting down some games. The company reported earnings and "bookings" right in line with expectations - zero cents in earnings per share on $256 million in bookings. Bolstering the stock, Zynga announced approval of a $200 million stock buyback plan. But even more important than the quarterly numbers, today Zynga announced its first move into real-money gaming. The social gaming company is partnering with bwin.party (PYGMF.PK), to offer real-money online poker and casino games in the U.K. Pincus wouldn't break down the financial arrangement of this new deal, but said that he views this as a crucial "first step to what is a large opportunity" in online gambling. Zynga has been working hard to decouple its reliance on Facebook (FB) for revenue and users. It is finally succeeding in doing this. Zynga is also working hard to move its social gaming efforts to the new mobile app world we live in as people are spending more and more time with mobile apps on smartphones and tablets. With this kind of focus and opportunity Zynga is transforming itself into a true mobile company following Yahoo's lead. Zynga remains attractive because of this new effort along with new revenue possibilities.
The opportunity to go where no stock has gone before lay before each of the companies mentioned above. Hitching a ride is just a matter of diversifying or following one or more of these new mobile leaders.