Zlango, a presenting company at the AlwaysOn Venture Summit’s has an application that allows users to create their own avatars and icons to communicate in a visual language in IM, SMS, and email. The application is a full SMS client—at the moment it requires a download but in the future, it plans to become integrated in the SMS platform. Zlango’s business model relies on licensing deals with carriers and mobile operators, and on partnership with media companies, merchandising and branding, and ad revenue. Zlengo is also considering a flat monthly fee for the use of its application—similarly to a flat caller ID or other features landline phone carriers have been offering. The company has deals with carriers in Israel and Europe and has been in advanced discussion with additional players in the mobile manufacturer and carrier industry.
A natural audience for Zlango is the tween and teen market who, for about $1 price point would find this a highly compelling way to communicate with their friends. Asia is a great fit for that. In addition to its existing icon-based language (I have in my hands the 10 commandments in Zlangauge), Zlango is also built for user-generated content: users can create their own icons and avatars or even their own secret community language.
The greatest challenge Zlango is facing is choosing a starting point from the many opportunities it has. A solid market entry strategy while maintaining its long term vision, is going to be key. Zlango is just entering the US market—it’ll be a very interesting company to watch.