Ryan Wuerch, ousted as chief executive officer at Motricity a year ago, is back in the wireless business with a new company.
Wuerch, backed by some high-profile investors and teaming with some other former Motricity executives, is rolling out Solavei, a venture that he says will help redefine the wireless business.
“We are going to make a difference in people’s lives by shifting billions of dollars from traditional mass-media advertising into the greatest advertising vehicle today – people,” Wuearch says on the firm’s website.
“Solavei is the first company to create an economic linkage between mobile service, social commerce and social-networking technology. We give people the opportunity to earn income by using and promoting the services they are already consuming each and every day.”
Solavei emerged from stealth mode last week with a formal press announcement and providing details about its service that is currently in beta testing with “several thousand” customers, the company says. It already has some 140 employees.
The firm, which is based in Washington state where Wuerch moved Motricity from Durham in 2008 and gutted the company’s Triangle operations in the process, is offering unlimited, no contract, text, voice and data services for $49 a month. It utilizes the T-Mobile USA network. Solavei operates as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, meaning it uses another firm’s network infrastructure.
Customers earn money when they recommend the service to friends and associates who also sign up for Solavei.
Here’s how the revenue plan works:
“Through Solavei’s social media platform and mobile application, members can introduce the Solavei Mobile Service experience to others and generate income. At its simplest, members earn $20 per month on every three mobile-service members (called a “Trio”) that they or someone in their personal network add to Solavei. When members have three Trios in their network, the income generated is greater than their monthly plan cost of $49, essentially making their mobile service free. Members can grow their recurring monthly income as they use their social networks to sign up more people for Solavei Mobile Service, turning their mobile phones into profit generators.”
Wuerch lists himself as the “founder” of Motricity, even though the company was the result of a firm he led in Tennessee that merged with Durham-based Pinpoint, led by Jud Bowman, Bowman later left Motricity and bought the firm’s smartphone business, which is now known as Appia.
The management team lists Solavei executives as “heads” of particular operations:
- Jose Rojas – Head of Operations; former JPMorgan Chase Payments executive, McKinsey & Co., U.S. Army aviator
- Allyn Hebner – Head of Finance; former chief accounting officer of T-Mobile and CFO of Motricity
- Rick White – Head of Legal and Policy; former U.S. congressman, attorney at Perkins Coie, CEO of Technet
- Jim Ryan – Head of Products; former head of Mobile Data Services of AT&T, Sprint, O2, CSMO at Motricity
- Robert A. McFadden – Head of Sales; former president of Viridian Networ
- Maria Pinchevsky – Head of Member Experience; former VP of customer service at T-Mobile
- Stan Simpliciano – Head of Mobile Network Services; former T-Mobile head of MVNO/M2M, Naval aviator
- Larry Wallace – Head of Corporate Development; former VP of Global OEM and OS Services at Motricity
- Jason Genthner – Head of Corporate Communications; former communications executive at Dr Pepper Snapple Group
- Jason Mckinnis – Head of Marketing and Brand; former head of brand and marketing communications at Motricity, Infospace
Board of Advisors and Investors, as listed on the website:
- John Rittenhouse, Chairman and CEO of Cavallino Capital, former COO of Walmart, Louis Vuitton, and Target
- Sue Nokes, SVP of Asurion, former COO and CCO of T-Mobile
- Jon Miller, Chief digital officer of News Corp, former chairman and CEO of AOL
- David Limp, VP of Amazon, former CSO of Palm and Liberate
- Brian Turner, former CFO of Coinstar (Redbox), RealNetworks, and Bsquare
- Roland Van de Meer, managing director of Fuse Capital, former founder and managing partner of ComVentures
- Rick Fox, former CFO of CyberSafe Corp, Wall Data, Managing Partner Ernst & Young
- Brian Long, managing partner of Atlantic Bridge Capital, founder of Parthus Technologies
- David Burnett, managing Member of Bright Rivers Capital, on the board of the Joshua Green Corporation
- Eddie Lazarus, former FCC chief of staff