Startup Caters to Gays, Lesbians

Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:32am
Monica Alleven

It’s shaping into a busy month for startup MoxieQ, which officially launches today as a mobile and online entertainment destination with a "gay sensibility." And it just so happens to be gay and lesbian pride month.

MoxieQ was founded by former Third Screen Media executive Heidi Lehmann and Kim Olson, a founding member of the Sprint Mobile Media Network. They spent the past MoxieQweekend trying to get out the word about MoxieQ at an event in Kansas City, and the company will be making the rounds at other events this month in New York City and Los Angeles.

After Third Screen, a pioneer in mobile advertising, was acquired by AOL in 2007, Lehmann stayed for a few months before striking out on her own. But before forming MoxieQ, she asked some of her contacts at ad agencies about their interest in targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – or LGBT – community.

She found that the LGBT community is indeed one that advertisers want to more effectively reach, as it is viewed as highly affluent and influential – and often with "double-income/no-kids" households. It’s estimated to spend some $712 billion.

More and more, the LGBT community is seen as one representing trend-setters, and Lehmann says the "irreverent" gay sense of humor appeals to a broader audience – think Bravo TV’s "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." MoxieQ also offers what Lehmann refers to as a "gay friend for your pocket" for straight people who want to get their "gay" groove on fashion or other trends.

MoxieQ is cross-platform, but "mobile is the main emphasis for us," Lehmann says. "We’ve gotten some really good traction and enthusiasm." Some content will be exclusive; other content involves partnerships with LGBT brands.

The endeavor already is attracting some star power, debuting at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 28 and in Los Angeles on April 18. The  "Will & Grace" personalities of radio, Ryan and Caroline, formerly of Clear Channel’s Pride Radio, conducted red carpet interviews with celebrities including Suze Orman, Tyra Banks, Judith Light,  Kathy Griffin and Wilson Cruz.   

MoxieQ’s "re:ACT" feature at lets uses click to call their senators when they want to weigh in on a local issue, like Prop 8 or "don’t ask, don’t tell." But the aim of MoxieQ mainly is to be fun and entertaining in a non-political way, Lehmann says.

More FirstNews 06/09/09:
•  Opinion: New iPhone Could Spell Doom for Sprint, Palm
•  Sprint: Pre Sets Sales Record
•  Former AT&T CEO to Become New GM Chairman
•  Verizon, T-Mobile File Proposals for Broadband Plan
•  Nokia N97 Goes on Sale
•  Texas Instruments Shares Rise
•  Startup Caters to Gays, Lesbians
•  FirstNews Briefs for June 09, 2009



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