Архив метки: True Ventures

Chat Startup Yobongo Gets Acq-Hired By Mixbook


Yobongo, the startup that creates mobile chat rooms for talking to anyone and everyone nearby, has been acquired by Mixbook.

The entire Yobongo team, including co-founders Caleb Elston and David Kasper, will be moving to Mixbook’s new Palo Alto office, where they’ll be spearheading the efforts to build a mobile app for the photobook- and calendar-printing service. The companies aren’t disclosing the financial terms of the deal, but Elston tells me that it was a mix of cash and stock, and that Yobongo’s investors (who include Mitch Kapor, Dave Morin, Kevin Rose, Gary Vaynerchuk, Karl Jacob, Bill Roux, Shervin Pishevar, Freestyle Capital, and True Ventures) are now investors in Mixbook.

Elston makes it sound like he, his team, and his investors are all pretty happy with the deal, but there’s a downside — the Yobongo app itself will be disappearing. It will be pulled from the App Store today, and it will shut down completely in a month or two. Elston admits that he’s “very sad” to be abandoning a product he’s been working on for more than a year, but he says he wanted the team to be working on a project where they have “the most leverage possible.”

“The landscape’s changed dramatically,” Elston says. “Every one of the South by Southwest darlings last year has been acquired. For us to be an independent player in a group messaging space where you have to be everywhere is a steeper curve than we anticipated.”

Elston (who was also the vice president of product at Justin.tv) and some of his team members have an existing connection to Mixbook — they used to work at Scrapblog, which the larger company acquired.

And while you may not have heard about Mixbook (after all, its core audience isn’t serious techies and early adopters), Elston says he was impressed by the company’s numbers. For one thing, it has shipped 10 million Mixbook products. He’s also excited about the possibility of reinventing that experience for mobile devices. The goal, he says, is to create an app that makes it easier than ever to transform your photos into a book — and also into a high-quality digital viewing experience, so it can reach a broader group of friends and family.

“Mixbook’s customers are not geeks — they’re moms, they’re sisters, they’re daughters, they’re husbands who are building things for their families,” Elston says. “They don’t care about the technology at all, and I love that. We can just make the experience be what it should be.”

Chat Startup Yobongo Gets Acq-Hired By Mixbook

Google Ventures And Others Put $5M In Enterprise Mobile Security Company Duo


Enterprise mobile security company Duo Security has raised $5 million from Google Ventures, True Ventures, and Resonant Venture Partners. This brings the startup’s total funding to $6 million.

Duo Security essentially provides a two-factor authentication service to companies who want to protect employee phones, with not just one but two secure log-ins. The company says that deploying two-factor authentication has traditionally been expensive and time-consuming with hardware requirements and other protocols. Duo Security lowers this barrier and expedites deployment with self-service enrollment.

Via mobile apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and other platform, Duo Security allows for secure logins and transactions. Users can generate secure passcodes without the hassle of hardware tokens. Here’s how it works: Once the app is downloaded, users type in their usernames and passwords as usual. If primary authentication succeeds, they are offered a second choice of authentication method. Duo says it seamlessly connects to servers and company infrastructure as well.

And the startup says one of its differentiating features is usability. Both from the deployment and employee user interface standpoint, Duo has worked to make its product easy to use.

In two years, Duo Security has added over 500 customers with users across 80 countries for their two-factor authentication service, including Tumblr, University of Michigan, Central Ohio Primary Care, and Toyota.

The new funding will be used to expand Duo’s team, mobile security research, and for authentication platform development.

Google Ventures And Others Put $5M In Enterprise Mobile Security Company Duo

Fund.me: Mobile Social Network Startup Just.me Raises $2.7 Million


Just.me, a stealth startup incubated by Palo Alto, California-based Archimedes Labs has raised $2.7 million in Series A funding according to an SEC filing. The company earlier secured $600,000 in seed financing from SV Angel, Google Ventures, True Ventures, Betaworks and a couple of other high-profile angel investors such as Don Dodge, Michael Parekh and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington.

I reached out to Keith Teare, CEO and sole founder of just.me (and also technically also a co-founder of TechCrunch, for full disclosure), but he politely declined to comment on the funding round.

Sources close to the company, however, were kind enough to inform us that the Series A round was led by a new investor, namely Khosla Ventures, and that True Ventures also participated again.

Teare tells me he’ll have more to share about the company’s vision when just.me gears up for public launch, which should occur in March 2012.

From what I’ve gathered so far, the company is building a ‘new type of social network’ that lives on your smartphone and the cloud and can be accessed from your desktop browser, rather than the other way around (e.g. what Facebook does). Basically, it sounds like just.me wants to turn your phone into the post-PC centerpiece of your social graph, and not just a tool to gain access to it.

More once we learn more.

Fund.me: Mobile Social Network Startup Just.me Raises $2.7 Million

Appconomy Raises $10 Million To Accelerate Expansion In China


Mobile development platform company Appconomy has raised $10 million in Series A equity and debt funding to accelerate its operations in China. The round was led by Shanghai-based Qiming Ventures.

Other investors include IT services provider Neusoft Corporation (which Appconomy had previously formed a strategic alliance with) and previous backers Western Technology Investment and True Ventures.

Appconomy operates a cloud-based platform for mobile marketing and commerce that connects consumers and merchants through its AppWallet marketplace on smartphones, tablet computers, and feature phones. Basically, the platform and technology help mobile app developers integrate in-app commerce and community services for daily deals and coupons, loyalty and rewards programs, and social network & private group sharing.

In partnership with Neusoft, Appconomy plans to leverage combined customers and partners in China and the United States, which happen to be the two largest markets for apps in the world.

Qiming Ventures MD Gary Rieschel has joined Appconomy’s board of directors.

Appconomy says it will continue to operate its U.S. headquarters, product and business development in Austin, Texas and run its Chinese operations from Shanghai.

Appconomy Raises $10 Million To Accelerate Expansion In China

Kicksend Goes Mobile With A New iPhone App For Instant, Asynchronous Sharing Of Big Files


Last we covered Kicksend in November, the Y Combinator-incubated web file-sharing tool for the non-technical crowd, had just raised $1.8 million in funding from True Ventures, with participation from Digital Garage, SV Angel, Start Fund, and Milo Founder and CEO Jack Abraham. The team was heads-down fixing, tweaking, and developing some new features for their file-sharing service.

But, today, the startup is going mobile with a new iPhone app to let users take all of their photos videos they have stored on their phone and instantly send them to any friend, list of colleagues, or email address, instantly — across platforms.

For those unfamiliar with the service, Kicksend has launched web and desktop apps that connects users in realtime, enabling them to drag and drop big batches of files from their desktop and have them delivered instantly to their desktop and web apps. And now this functionality has arrived on mobile.

Kicksend’s advantage over other file sharing media is that it has no size limits, is private, and works asynchronously — unlike IM. With Kicksend, there is no need for share folders and permissions, and now with its mobile app, the startup is live on all the major platforms.

Like its desktop and web apps, Kicksend allows users to send large batches of high-res photos and videos from their phones to any friend, instantly, regardless of whether or not they’ve downloaded the Kicksend app.

Basically, Kicksend has enabled simple file-sharing on the iPhone, so if users send documents from other apps, or, say, you’re using GoodReader and you view a PDF, users can choose “Open in Kicksend”, you can share that with any other user in realtime — something that will be awesome for all those holiday photos.

Thus, documents, photos, and videos will appear instantly on the recipient’s desktops and mobile devices in realtime, or, in turn, users can view, send, and comment privately on PDFs, documents, photos, videos and more. If recipients don’t have the Kicksend app, they can receive files via email with links to download within minutes.

There are a ton of file-sharing services out there, but Kicksend has a great user interface, is extremely simple to use, and pretty much allows users to send any size file easily, instantly, to any device, across any platform, offering notifications and statistics to boot, so that users can see how many people in a group have downloaded the file. It’s a great tool. For more, check out the app here.

Kicksend Goes Mobile With A New iPhone App For Instant, Asynchronous Sharing Of Big Files