MOO.com, a UK-based company with the motto "we love to print", earned at least a bit of attention from the printer industry with a mention from Vince Ferraro at HP's (NYSE HPQ) LaserJet blog a few weeks ago in his most recent post, entitled "Imaging and Printing 2.0". Any Web 2.0 company that proclaims the importance of printing, especially outside the direct photo printing space, is bound to attract the attention of our industry.
And more than that! Chris Nuttal of The Financial Times, at the FT Tech Blog, reports on MOO's success in "Collect Moo cards and advance to Web 2.0" earlier this week. And it's a great story -- founder Richard Moross tells of his vision to expand and redefine the role of the venerable business card, a communications tool that's been around 300 years. At this point, MOO's MiniCards have become a collectable for some, and popular for a growing number of applications as described in the post. The company offers the ability to print their MiniCards and NoteCards using images from a variety of partner web sites and services, including most notably Yahoo's Flickr. The company seems to be delivering on what HP is promising in their recent "Print 2.0" announcements. But of course having small, grass-roots print-based businesses taking off on their own is not necessarily bad for HP -- assuming MOO's production takes place on HP printers/presses.
I wasn't able to speak directly to the company for this report, which made me think change may be in the works for MOO, sooner rather than later. With the recent acquisition flurry in the Web 2.0 space, even with HP and its buys of Tabblo and LogoWorks, is MOO in the sights of someone, printer company or other? And with the Venture Capital backing so prominently featured on their web site, a "liquidity event" is probably never far out of the minds of the MOO management. Of course, a buy-out now would preclude the goal of becoming the next Vistaprint (NASDAQ VPRT), the "free business card" company that now has a market capitalization of over $1.5 Billion. Vistaprint grew throughout this decade delivering on a unique value proposition to a myriad of individual and small business customers. Despite their detractors, they've satisfied millions of customers (nine million, per their current web site) on their way to financial success. Good luck to MOO on a similar journey!