Startup Zlango received a serious boost today, in the form of $12 million funding by two leading venture capital funds, Benchmark and Accel. The company’s valuation for the purposes of its financing round could not be elucidated.


In the past Zlango, which was founded by the ExScite Yoav Lorch, raised a million and a half dollars from private and angel investors.


Founded in 2003, Zlango developed a whole new language of icons for short messaging by cellphone.  The language consists of more than 200 icons, each of which stands for a word and which can together create sentences.


Zlango uses Java or small Brew, which works with most cellphones that operate on GSM or CDMA networks. ZMS (Zlango) messages are transferred over SMS or cellular Internet infrastructure using a designated server.


Lorch said the money will be used to advance use of Zlango to many environments. “We are operating along three avenues,” he said. “On the mobile avenue, we want as many people as possible to download the Zlango application and use it on their cellphone. We also want as many cellular carriers as possible to market the language. Another channel we want to develop Zlango around, is the web.” It could be customized into a private language, he adds.