Mobuzz was an internet content producer similar to Revision3 until it went bankrupt last week. Now it is a global sensation. Why? Because Anil de Mello and the 16 Mobuzz employees started begging for donations over their own IPTV show and so far seem to be succeeding in saving the company. Anil is a close friend and I contributed to his campaign and blogged about it although I felt at that time that there was a very small chance the company would re emerge from bankruptcy. But after obtaining 33K euros in donations in only a few days Mobuzz is reopening tomorrow. And now I believe there is a reasonable chance that Mobuzz will raise the cash it needs to reach break even from investors, reconstitute itself as a new company and start generating cash from advertising. Interestingly the begging campaign became so famous around the world that advertisers now want to be part of the rescue.
In the meantime what is paradoxically helping Mobuzz is the fact that a big part of the Spanish public has expressed extremely negative opinions on the begging campaign. Many Spaniards thought it was undignified that a private company would ask for donation instead of asking for loans or selling shares. Most people in Spain do not seem to be aware that selling shares or bonds over the internet is illegal and that having had to close down the only way that Mobuzz could quickly reopen is through donations. But the criticism, which was so loud in my Spanish blog and other blogs, resulted also in a counter tendency that was equally strong and favorable to Mobuzz. People who liked Mobuzz and who initially some sympathy for the company´s failure in view of the harsh criticism quickly moved to the other side of the debate and position themselves as strong supporters of the rescue. Spain you see is a country of dichotomies, Madrid vs Barcelona, Conservatives vs Socialists and now in the blogosphere at least, it´s those against the rescue and those for the rescue. The good news for Mobuzz is that those for the rescue are voting PayPal in hand.
What is going to happen to the company? After meeting Anil last night I can see that this reality internet show is not over yet. Maybe it will fail in the end. But one thing it´s sure. Last week it was dead, bankrupt and not in the air. Tomorrow it will go live again and conversations with investors and especially with advertising accounts continue. If this desperate plan turns out to work out and save the company, Mobuzz will become part of start up history books.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars