Showing posts tagged Social

With 200K Stories Shared, Storylane Launches An iPhone Reading App

#SuryaRay #Surya Last year, Storylane launched a site for users to share stories that are a little more thoughtful or serious than what you’d find on other social media properties. And thanks to a recently launched iPhone app, you can now browse those stories when you’re on-the-go. The concept behind Storylane is pretty straightforward — founder Jonathan Gheller wants it to be the home for personal thoughts and stories that go deeper than a quick Facebook or Twitter update. The site prompts users to answer questions like “What have you learned from your failed relationships?” and “What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?” You can follow individual users to see their stories, and there are also pages to browse trending content across the whole site and within individual topics. You can’t post full comments, but you can hit buttons to say that you liked a story, or that it inspired you, and so on. @suryaray

After Recruiting Founding StubHub CTO, Buzzmob Overhauls Its Social Events App To Help Brands Connect With Fans

#SuryaRay #Surya If you’ve been to a live event recently, like a football game or a, you’ve probably noticed that the majority of people around you spent most of their time huddled over their smartphone. It’s true of life now, too, as people now interface with the world through Instagram rather than their eyeballs, but this even more true for live events. BuzzMob launched in 2011 to capitalize on our mobile obsession with a location-based fan engagement app, designed to help facilitate and channel the social chatter at live events. The app aims to create a more engaging experience at live events by offering a focused, virtual community message board, which allows users to tap into a realtime community feed of images, tips and status updates from fellow event-goers. @suryaray

eBay-Owned Social Shopping Site Svpply Debuts A New Android App

#SuryaRay #Surya eBay-owned Svpply is debuting an Android version of its Svpply mobile application today, which brings its catalog of over 2.4 million hand-picked items from 110,000 stores to the Android operating system for the first time. The company, which was acquired by eBay just this September, had first launched on mobile in May 2012, offering both iPhone and iPad optimized versions of its service. @suryaray

The Brain Trust Behind Farmville Launches Red Hot Labs With $1.5M From All-Star Investors

#SuryaRay #Surya Back in late 2009, Zynga quietly acquired a startup called MyMiniLife, a maker of virtual worlds that allowed players to outfit their characters and homes with virtual lamps, furniture and so on. You couldn’t see it at the time, but the MyMiniLife acquisition was a company-making deal. It spawned FarmVille, the monster hit that put social gaming and Zynga on the map. At the same time, MyMiniLife was starting to run out of money. Ultimately, it turned out to be a win-win. “While Zynga had some success with Mafia Wars and Poker, they weren’t necessarily in a dominant position,” said Amitt Mahajan, who was one of FarmVille’s co-creators. “They were not yet known for building these isometric worlds. Playfish was catching up, but the reusable game engine behind Farmville gave them a leg up.” Now Mahajan and another MyMiniLife co-founder, Joel Poloney, are back with a new company called Red Hot Labs. Looking to have the same impact on mobile gaming, they’ve raised seed funding from an all-star cast of investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, General Catalyst, Keith Rabois, Chris Dixon, Bill Tai, and Guitar Hero co-creators Charles Huang and Kai Huang. To be clear, Red Hot Labs is not going to be solely a game developer. Mahajan and Poloney are looking for pain points that are common to all mobile game developers that they can build technology and services around. “As I look at the mobile landscape, there’s this huge gap in developer tools,” he said. “There are all these holes that need to be filled. We’re not going to be just about building games but also figuring out where those holes are.” They’ve duplicated Zynga’s original lean approach toward game development, with a series of several titles in the works all from a team of six people. They’ve got experience in this, as they built the original version of FarmVille in about five weeks. “Our company is founded on Zynga-style product management,” Mahajan said. “We’ve scaled games to hundreds of millions of people and engineered growth and virality in both good times and bad on the Facebook platform.” The first game, a social bingo-style game, should come out shortly. While the rise of Android and iOS have meant big changes for the gaming industry, some things still seem the same. One of the reliably top 5 grossing games over the last six months has been Hay Day from Finland’s @suryaray

With $1.5M In Fresh Funding, Social Calendar App UpTo Now Lets Any Group Create & Publish Its Own Event Stream

#SuryaRay #Surya Founded in 2011, Detroit-based startup UpTo set out on an important mission: Turn your daily calendar into a social network. Sure, social calender-ing may not reach out and grab you, but, when the startup launched its iPhone app last March, it seemed worthy of another chance. Event-sharing apps are hardly new (see Facebook, Eventbrite, etc. etc.), but UpTo is taking an approach that many can empathize with when it comes to the social experience around events. @suryaray

Social Discovery App Sonar Gets New Investment From Bing Fund, Announces It Via Vine

#SuryaRay #Surya Sonar, a social discovery service (and TechCrunch Disrupt alumni) which was among the top apps at last year’s SXSW in Austin, is today announcing new investment from  Bing Fund. This angel fund and incubator program from Microsoft was publicly revealed this summer, allowing Microsoft to partner with entrepreneurs, which can then receive subsidies to use Bing APIs in their applications, as well as access the technologies developed by Microsoft Research. @suryaray

Navigation App Waze Adds Road Closure Reporting Feature, Says It Now Has 40M Users

#SuryaRay #Surya Waze, the app that uses crowdsourced data to build its maps and provide real-time traffic information, is introducing a new feature today allowing users to report road closures within the app. This seems like a pretty natural extension of what Waze does — drivers could already report things like accidents, so this is just giving them another way to get important information into the system. In fact, spokesperson Michal Habdank-Kolaczkowski told me that users were already providing this information in an ad hoc way, where the names of roads would be edited so they said (for example), “Capitol Ave CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION.” @suryaray

How Bad Did Analytics Bugs Fool Facebook Pages? Reach Looked Down 14% When It Wasn’t

#SuryaRay #Surya How much were Facebook Page owners misled by months of Insight bugs? The median Page’s analytics showed it reached 14.39% fewer people than they actually did, according to early data and graphs from EdgeRank Checker, a Facebook analytics startup that gave us the first look. The bugs may have caused people to mistakenly undervalue Pages, change strategies, or buy ads to make up for “lost” reach. @suryaray

A Disrupt Battlefield Launch And Three Redesigns Later, Postwire Tells All

#SuryaRay #Surya Postwire, the startup aiming to disrupt content sharing on a business level, launched out of Disrupt last year in May, and has since undergone nearly three redesigns. This may appear, to the surface observer, as a lack of focus or certainty, yet as Postwire grows its user base in various verticals, rapid iteration allows them to put important tools and tricks in the forefront, while pushing any confusing queues to the background. On one side, marketers are organizing content in Postwire to share with salespeople who can then carry it on to their prospects. Because of this, one Postwire user can rally their entire network, from creative marketers all the way to sales, to get on the Postwire wagon. This has accounted for major growth at Postwire. @suryaray

Old Media, Meet New: European Publisher Axel Springer Acquires Second Screen App TunedIn

#SuryaRay #Surya TunedIn Media, the German company behind the second screen “social TV’ app TunedIn, has been acquired by European publishing giant Axel Springer. The amount isn’t being disclosed, so it’s unlikely to be a home run for the burgeoning startup, while the two companies had already been working together through support from Axel Springer’s innovation department and the licensing of the publisher’s EPG, which is currently used to power TunedIn’s TV guide. @suryaray

Facebook, 18 Carriers Partner To Use Discounted Messages To Lure New Users, Data Customers

#SuryaRay #Surya Facebook is deepening its relationships with carriers in emerging markets today with a deal that would bring free or discounted data access for people who use Facebook Messages. The company has done these types of win-win deals in the past. Carriers get to give their customers access to what is probably the most widely-used app in the world, gaining an edge over competitors in the same market. They also potentially lure new customers to sign up for lucrative data plans. At the same time, Facebook gains further reach into many developing countries that have mobile-only consumers, who don’t have access to the desktop web. The operators in the deal include TMN in Portugal, Three in Ireland, Airtel and Reliance in India, Vivacom in Bulgaria, Backcell in Azerbaijan, Indosat, Smartfren, AXIS and XL Axiata in Indonesia, SMART in Philippines, DiGi in Malaysia, DTAC in Thailand, Viva in Bahrain, STC in Saudi Arabia, Oi in Brazil, Etisalat in Egypt, and Tre in Italy. Facebook has done similar deals in the past. After it acquired Israeli-startup Snaptu to build mobile versions of Facebook for the long tail of feature phones, it partnered with more than 20 carriers to give their customers more than 90 days of free access to the new Facebook for Every Phone app. While most of the carriers in the deal are in emerging markets, not all of them are. A few carriers in Ireland, Italy and Portugal are also involved. Keep in mind that Facebook Messenger’s rival WhatsApp rules in Europe, as many cellphone users turn to it instead of classic SMS messaging to save on their monthly bills. WhatsApp beats Facebook Messenger in market share in many European countries. This could be a small way to get a leg up on their competitor, which is based in Silicon Valley and is backed by Sequoia Capital. @suryaray

A Juicey Hands-On With The Facebook Omni-Gift Card

#SuryaRay #Surya "Uh Facebook Gift Card?", the Jamba Juice cashier said with a twang. "I don’t even know what that is." But that didn’t stop her from ringing up my purchase with Facebook’s big move into brick-and-mortar commerce. Facebook announced the card last month, and today I was one of the first to try it out. Here’s how it felt to swipe Facebook’s hopeful disruptor of the $100 billion US gift card market. @suryaray

Facebook Admits Critical Bugs Caused Page Reach To Be Misreported For Months

#SuryaRay #Surya While trying to speed up its iOS and Android apps, Facebook accidentally stripped out too much data about news feed posts by Pages. This caused bugs in Page Insights that led to misreporting of metrics, causing admins to believe their posts reached fewer people than they actually did, in most cases. Bug fixes are now rolling out and accurate data will flow into Page Insights starting Monday. @suryaray

Wedding Party, The Mobile App That Lets Guests Contribute Photos To Gorgeous, Shared Albums, Scores A Million-Dollar Seed Round

#SuryaRay #Surya Wedding Party, the mobile app that allows wedding guests, friends and family to contribute to a shared, digital album of photos and notes which can later be posted directly to the couple’s Facebook timeline, has raised $1 million in seed funding in a round jointly led by NEA and Felicis Ventures. Also participating were a number of angel investors, including early Dropbox investor Pejman Nozad, plus Ullas Naik, Darian Shirazi, Rich Chen, Zeki and Haroon Mokhtarzada, Doug Pepper, Mark Jung, Kumar Malavalli, Chris Hobbs, Hamid Barkhordar, Sam Ferdows, and Merced Partners. The app, which first launched this summer on iPhone only, was being bootstrapped by Ajay Kamat, Himani Amoli, Gordon McCreight and Dan Perez, three of whom had previous social community building experience from an earlier project called MicroMobs. Dan, meanwhile, came from Since its original debut, Wedding Party has expanded to Android, where it’s now available in beta. The Android version isn’t yet feature-complete compared with the iPhone app, says co-founder Ajay Kamat, so that will be an immediate focus for the company’s product development efforts. Longer-term, the team is thinking about ways to bring the experience of viewing the collected and photos to the iPad’s bigger screen. “It’s very obvious that the consumption of the content on a tablet would be gorgeous,” Kamat says. “It’s definitely something that we’re thinking about.” Currently, wedding guests and newlyweds can revisit their digital album after the fact either via Facebook (if they choose to publish there) or through an album on the Wedding Party website itself. In addition, thanks to a partnership with, the album can also be integrated into the couple’s main wedding website. When the team first created the app, they thought of it as something the couple would ask their guests to use on their big day, but they soon found that their users had other ideas. “The biggest surprise for us was that, almost immediately, we saw that people were using us months and months in advance of their wedding,” says Kamat. “They were using it to get their friends and family involved in the wedding experience early on. We’re seeing things like cake tastings, dress fittings, rehearsal dinners,” he adds. To support this slight shift in focus, Wedding Party has been updated with features designed for all the expanded use cases. It now offers things like upgraded guest pages with collages of all the photos the guests were involved in, plus @suryaray

Rock Health Launches Its Fourth Batch Of Startups, As Total Funding For Grads Hits $43M, $900K Each

#SuryaRay #Surya After five months of testing, iterating, spit balling and pavement pounding, today Rock Health’s fourth class of HealthTech startups took the stage at Demo Day to pitch their fledgling businesses to investors. More than anything, these fourteen startups confirmed that digital health is not just alive and well, but beginning to gain some real traction. (More on that here.) Like education, the healthcare industry is in the early stages of a massive sea change, and Rock Health’s startups collectively addressed some major pain points for the industry — from leveraging better coordination and patient engagement to lower the costs and simplify the tangled mess of health insurance, to incentivizing healthy behavior and improving secondary care. @suryaray