It's been clear for awhile that changes were afoot at Viximo, but only recently has it become clear just how dramatic those changes are going to be. The company has restructured, with some employees let go last month and former CEO Rob Frasca replaced by Dayna Grayson (of Viximo investor North Bridge Venture Partners) as acting CEO. Viximo closed a new round $5 million round of funding from North Bridge and Sigma. Perhaps most importantly, the company is refocusing itself around a new virtual goods strategy: providing content for partners to sell.
This new strategy relies on one key fact: Viximo has changed, but not as much as you might think. Regarding Frasca's departure, Grayson only stated that he had decided to part ways with the company and pursue other opportunities. Founder and VP of Marketing Brian Balfour, CTO Sean Lindsay, and VP of Products Ravi Mehta are all still with the company. Viximo's core business is still virtual goods. What Viximo is doing different now is really trying to leverage the creativity of its network of 3,000 creators as one of its primary assets.
"We're really excited to see our strategy coming to fruition. We've always felt content was the key to making virtual goods successful. At the end of the day, the thing that drives a virtual economy are the items that consumers want and quality is key," said Balfour.
Viximo's designers have already produced 1,500 virtual goods that are already approved and ready for partners to incorporate into their apps and games. Most can be seen in Viximo's revamped online marketplace. Viximo is maintaining its in-house design team, too, and looking to partner with brand and agency partners to create high-end virtual goods based around IP brands and celebrity licensing.
Mehta named Beelya as one of the new Viximo's first content partners and also mentioned the company had signed a deal with a major talent agency to begin work on celebrity items.
"What we're hearing from the market is that people need a payment solution, people are looking for ways to gather reports and analytics, and a really critical problem is content. Publishers don't have enough content to fulfill demand that they're seeing, whether it's a social network or an online gaming site or a virtual world," said Mehta.
Where Viximo is really taking its new virtual goods direction is a very Apple-like place, with an emphasis on creative products provided to partners in a curated, comprehensive way. Viximo's partners get access to a modularized system for deploying Viximo's products in their app. The platform also carefully tracks purchase data and reports back to the client, allowing the client to make more informed merchandising decisions when it comes to their virtual catalog.
"We want to supply a wide range of artist sand we want to enable artists, brands, firms to put things into our ecosystem that will be curated and have a high volume. Instead of static virtual gifts these are things that are more interactive and really high-quality. You get content that users really want. That's the strategy of providing a really large portfolio of content," said Mehta.
Finally, the platform allows developers to quickly create RMT or achievement-based currencies in their apps or plug existing systems into the Viximo platform. The platform's currency component handles payment solutions for a game's microtransactions, too. Mehta estimates it would take about five days to completely integrate a platform with the new Viximo solutions.
What Viximo won't be doing so much in the future is selling content directly to consumers. While the company has published 15 iPhone apps, each at the $.99 price point, Grayson states that Viximo doesn't really intend to build out its iPhone platform at this point in time. Instead, its allowing its developer community to create most of its upcoming iPhone content using VixML. The games Viximo released last week were created by its creator community, too.
Right now Viximo's offers reach 20 million unique monthly users through a dozen publishers and plans to apply its funding to growing its customer base, which could increase its monthly uniques dramatically. Clearly Viximo is looking to become a comprehensive microtransaction solution for any developer interested in bringing virtual goods or currency into their product. It's a bold move and it'll be interesting to see how it works out for Viximo in the long run.
""It's amazing to see how quickly that market is maturing, especially given the economic climate," said Grayson. "Publishers are now realizing how powerful virtual goods as monetization tool can be."
This post by Alicia Ashby originally appeared on our sister site, Virtual Goods News.
Join us for App Conference – October 18-19, 2012 in Santa Clara