Wednesday 21 August 2019

Miss World drives growth for MobStar

'MobStar's rapid rise has been driven by its tie-in with the Miss World and Mr World competitions.' (stock image)
'MobStar's rapid rise has been driven by its tie-in with the Miss World and Mr World competitions.' (stock image)

Fearghal O'Connor

Irish social media app MobStar is to raise funding following huge growth from its tie-in with Miss World.

Brendan Morrissey, former guitarist with 1990s rock band My Little Funhouse who developed MobStar four years ago, plans to raise "a couple of million euro" in Series A funding by the end of the year.

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The platform has had close to one million downloads in 110 countries, adding on average 1,000 users a day. "It's the biggest social network to come out of Ireland," he said. MobStar's rapid rise has been driven by its tie-in with the Miss World and Mr World competitions. But the funding will be used to grow MobStar's reach, to attract new talent in areas such as music and acting.

The app's Tinder-like left-right swipe interface was originally designed to allow music fans to interact with content, but has since become the voting platform for Miss World and is particularly popular in China and India.

"During the finals last year in China, we were getting up to 45,000 new users a day," Morrissey said. He added he was comfortable with the Miss World brand because of work it does with the Beauty with a Purpose charity.

"Their charity is remarkable and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for disadvantaged children around the world," he said.

The Kilkenny-based entrepreneur has brought former head of record company Geffen Bill Bennett on board as a mentor to MobStar. Bennett said it could help change the dynamic for young acts.

"After 40 years in the music business, searching for and nurturing talent, the idea that MobStar could find a way to give dreamers, singers, writers, and people who dare to think, act, or dress funny an audience is nothing less than a game-changer," said Bennett.

"Young artists can seek judgement without humiliation and grow with guidance and confidence, miles and miles from the nearest record label, comedy club or fashion house. With the playing field levelled, talent will find a way to prevail with the help of a smartphone."

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