Digital Dealmaker: Peter Adderton

May 29, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The player: Peter Adderton, founder and CEO of Amp’d Mobile, a mobile voice and video service provider targeting cellphone users ages 18 to 34.

The play: Amp’d Mobile is pursuing what’s expected to be a big business. EMarketer pegs the number of cellphone video subscribers on 3G (third-generation) phones-the kind Amp’d uses-at 400,000 today, a number that it expects will grow to 8.4 million by 2009. Amp’d competitors include all the major carriers who have mobile TV offerings, including Verizon, Sprint and Cingular.

The pitch: “We are building the foundations of a mobile media company. We are taking today’s technology and really trying to entertain you when you are most often bored and the only thing sitting in your hand is your wireless device-waiting for class, at the airport, in traffic,” Mr. Adderton said. “We want to be seen as the affordable 3G mobile media company with a $49 entry-level handset with $99 unlimited voice plan, with video at $10 to $15 more.”

The money: In the first quarter of 2006, Amp’d closed on a third round of financing close to $150 million, pushing its total take past $250 million. Investors include Qualcomm, MTV, Universal Music Group, Highland Capital Partners, Columbia Capital and Intel. Mr. Adderton said he expects to break even in late 2008 or early 2009.

The backstory: Mr. Adderton started Amp’d two years ago after selling Boost Mobile, which he founded, to Sprint Nextel in 2003. Amp’d has about 200 employees and Mr. Adderton expects to add another 50 to 100 over the next year.

The numbers: Amp’d does not disclose subscriber numbers, but Mr. Adderton said current average revenue per user is more than $100 – double the cellular industry average. Also, Amp’d generates an average of $20 per user from data services, compared with the $5 industry average, he said: “As voice margins come down, you need to turn to other areas.”

The content: Amp’d content includes video from MTV, Comedy Central, Ultimate Fighting Championship, ABC, CBS, NBC, UPN, WB, E!, CollegeHumor.com, Break.com, Professional Bull Riding, ESPN, Fox Sports and Spike TV.

The basics: Mr. Adderton, 39, was born in Sydney, Australia. He’s married and living in Newport Beach, Calif., with his wife and three girls, ages 1, 2 and 7.

Who knew? Mr. Adderton beats the traffic from Orange Country to Los Angeles by flying-in a helicopter-from his home to his office every day. He also gets a speed fix from doing motocross and racing cars.