Backed by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and located in Menlo Park, Calif., Mambo launched a year ago as a competitor to Evite.com, offering consumers a Web site for managing event invitations and RSVPs. But now, just as Evite lays off most of its staff in its efforts to attract a buyer, Mambo will scuttle the invitations in favor of licensing a payment technology originally developed for use on its Web site.
Faced with scant revenue opportunities and significant pressure from Yahoo in the online invitations arena, Mambo on Thursday advised visitors that it was pulling the plug on the invite service and that customers should gather whatever information they entered into the site before it disappears.
"Mambo.com is discontinuing its service on November 20th," read the notice. "If your event is occuring (sic) after the 19th please make sure to notify your guest of the change and provide them with another source of information about your event. In addition, please make copies of any personal information you desire to keep, such as your address book; this information will not be available after that date."
Mambo's demise comes as standalone invitation Web sites face the end of a brief run. Evite on Thursday cut 60 percent of its staff, a week after saying it sought a buyer.
This summer, competitor TimeDance also threw in the towel.
The end of Mambo invitations is also the latest example of a Web start-up that began as a business-to-consumer, advertising-supported venture that is evolving into a business-to-business company. The company will continue under the name Dynamic Transactions, licensing its payments technology on an OEM basis and operating a proof-of-concept site called PayPlace.com.
Company co-founder and chief executive Greg Richards said the payments technology, originally developed for use with Mambo, provided a new direction for the company once the curtain came down on online invitations.
"We realized that the business model behind the invitation site would be hard to execute on, in light of the fact that Yahoo had launched its own site already and there was Evite as well," Richards said in an interview. "So we chose to focus on a piece of the market that was underserved in the OEM payment area."
Dynamic Transactions was born in February as the umbrella company for the payments technology and the invitations site. Launched in May, PayPlace now has about 60,000 registered users and has processed several million dollars' worth of transactions, Richards said. Those transactions included more than 100,000 online auctions.