m8 Capital invests into “Just Sing It”
Just Sing It, the social singing app that has passed 500,000 songs recorded in just two weeks since launch, announces it has raised a $1 million round of capital. Investors include Tribeca Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures, m8 Capital, Eniac Ventures, and angels Dennis Phelps, partner at Institutional Venture Partners and Bob Geiman, partner at Redwood Technology Ventures. The financing will be used to further develop Just Sing It technology and enhance the player experience.
Just Sing It lets users sing and share their favorite songs on Facebook/Twitter, apply voice filters to bring out their inner rockstars and guess songs with other game players and even potential love interests. In just two weeks since launching out of beta, Just Sing It has hit #1 in the Entertainment category of the App Store and garnered more than 80,000 installs. Users who have downloaded the app continue to build their song library with an average of 5.6 songs recorded per player, proving the singing is a truly sticky phenomenon in the US. Even celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan have shared their favorite songs on Twitter and count themselves as fans.
“We’re energized by the enthusiastic response of our players who have demonstrated the desire to unleash their inner rockstars,” said Alec Andronikov, CEO and founder of Just Sing It. “Just Sing It is pioneering a new user-sharing category, and we believe adding our new investors’ seasoned experience will help us reach our full potential.”
Meet with m8 Capital at MWC 2013!
Like every year, February has a special place in the hearts of mobile fans everywhere. It’s Mobile World Congress time.
For those of you who have not been before, the conference is an almost overwhelming hive of activity. OEM Executives in suits rushing to their next meeting with their counterparts at an MNO, developers discussing fragmentation issues with evangelists and investors meeting with bright young companies.
As m8 Capital is a mobile focused fund, MWC is a key appointment in our calendar. It’s a chance for us to not only catch up with our contacts and friends across whole mobile ecosystem, but it also provides an opportunity for us to meet with bright people from all over the world who are building the next generation of great mobile products.
If you run a startup and would like to schedule a meeting with us at MWC, please drop us a line and one of our team will do our best to meet with you at the conference.
Otherwise enjoy the show and make sure you RSVP to as many parties as possible!
iPad mini vs. Nexus 7
So yesterday I received my iPad mini LTE and iPad 4th Gen LTE. I haven’t even touched the iPad 4, and have only used the mini for less than an hour. But I was very anxious to see how I feel about my Nexus 7, using it side by side.
My very first impression was that the Nexus 7, which I loved because it was so light, compared to my iPad 2, now feels heavy. For me, this is by far the biggest deciding factor. Especially since, I started having wrist issues from playing games all the time on my big iPad 2. Reading and watching videos, the mini feels great.
The second thing that hit me was that it’s really nice to have the bigger screen. This is most obvious when reading books. I tried to compare the same book on the Kindle app on both devices. But I think the Android Kindle app is an update from the iPad Kindle version. So I decided to look at Kindle app on the Nexus 7 vs. iBook on iPad mini. For me, there’s no comparison. The iPad mini is a real ebook reading device. Nexus 7 is only slightly better than reading a book on an iPhone. For magazine, the gap is even greater. All the top visual magazines have been optimized for the iPad. And they look great. Definitely not the case for the Android platform.
The third thing I realised, is that even the iPad mini isn’t a “carry-around” device at all. I went out to a business an evening function straight from the office last night, and wanted to take my iPad mini home. I couldn’t get it into any of my winter coat pockets. I had to put it into my colleague’s bag. So it’s really a device for your purse or briefcase. No way you’re going to carry this around in your pocket. But I don’t think the 7 inch tablets are really either. The only true “carry-around” device is your phone. I think if you want a viable single “carry-around” device, I’d seriously consider the Samsung Note. You don’t give up much in terms of screen size vs. Nexus 7, but it’s just small enough for you to carry it around all the time. For me, the iPad mini is a replacement at home for my full sized iPad. For everything else, I’ll use my iPhone.
I also realized, that the battery life on the iPad mini is pretty impressive. This is going to be a big deal if you don’t have a chance to recharge your device throughout the day. No way Nexus 7 will go all day with heavy use. I’m pretty sure the iPad mini will.
But after using, and generally loving the Nexus 7, for a few weeks, I’ll probably use it less and less. And this actually has nothing to do with the iPad mini. On all the previous occasions where I’ve tried to use an Android device, eventually I abandoned the OS because of their non-optimized apps. Essentially, because there’s no tight quality control on the apps in the Google Play Store (almost the exact opposite of the situation in the iTunes Store), eventually, if you install a lot of apps (like I do), some of the apps will absolutely gunk up the OS. It will severely degrade the overall device performance in critical ways. Your processing speed will suffer. Battery life will suffer. Apps will get laggy, etc. I was very pleasantly surprised by the overall quality and performance of the Jelly Bean OS “out of the box”. But now I’m beginning to experience performance degradation. It took a lot longer than in the previous Android OS’s. But it’s finally started to happen. Apps will hang. Apps will close out. At times the entire OS will shut down. Looking at comments from others on the web, seems like this is happening to others as well.
So my guess is that the iPad mini will be my tablet of choice, and I’ll use it all the time. I haven’t even opened my iPad 4 box, but already, I’m wondering when I’ll use it. I’m thinking I’ll just keep it at the office and take it into meetings. It’s the first new Apple device that I’m not even excited to open. The only thing I’m interested in trying is playing my favorite game (Need for Speed) on it, just to see how it looks on the Retina Display and if the A6X processor makes any difference.
All in all, not good news for Apple.
Evernote Raises $85 Million in Primary and Secondary Financing, lead by AGC Equity Partners / m8 Capital
By Evernote CEO Phil Libin:
I’m happy to say that we’ve just closed an $85 million round of financing. This round is led by London-based AGC Equity Partners/m8 Capital with participation from Valiant Capital Partners and existing investors including funds and accounts managed by T.Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Seventy five percent of this money comes in the form of a secondary investment, which means that the stock is being sold by existing investors and shareholders, while the rest is going to Evernote in a primary round.
As we’ve talked about in the past, there is no exit strategy at Evernote. Our goal is to build a permanently meaningful and enduring company; a hundred year startup. In order to accomplish this, we have to separate liquidity from exit. This latest round is another step on this journey. By giving early shareholders the opportunity to sell some of their holdings, we reduce the pressure to exit while at the same time forging relationships with important new long-term investors who can help shepherd the company to, through, and beyond an eventual IPO.
The additional funds brought in from the primary portion of this round will make sure that Evernote can continue to focus all of our energy on building the best possible products, without being distracted by external market conditions. It’s nice to have this extra peace of mind, even if we don’t strictly need it.
I’m humbled by, and grateful for, the support we’ve received from all of our users, employees, partners and investors. In particular, I’m happy to welcome AGC Equity Partners/m8 Capital and Valiant Capital Partners to the Evernote team. Thank you for your confidence.
Massachusetts rail commuters can now use smartphones instead of tickets to ride using Masabi’s technology
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) just announced that passengers on some of its commuter rail trains can now purchase digital tickets straight from their Android and iOS smartphones, a new initiative that should greatly speed up the ticket-buying and ticket-checking process. The new MBTA mTicket app lets users buy a ticket that can display a digital bar code for conductors to scan once on-board —the agency says that it is the first public transit agency to move any of its system over to smartphone ticketing, though Amtrak has offered iPhone ticketing for a few months now. The New York Waterway ferry system also rolled out smartphone ticketing at the beginning of the year.
Schad has joined forces with Vanderlande Industries
Schad, the engineering mobility software specialist, has joined forces with Vanderlande Industries, the specialist in automated material handling systems used in manufacturing and logistics departments to launch the Vanderlande Industries Mobile Maintenance Solution (MMS) which integrates SCADA with enterprise asset management solutions. Schad worked with Vanderlande Industries to develop the solution as a new maintenance management tool.
Vanderlande Industries will use the software to improve the operational performance of their site based teams, to increase the value and quality of service to their customers. Vanderlande’s customers will benefit from using MMS powered by Schad through higher efficiency, lower costs and improved management reporting of site-based teams.
Using the Mobile Maintenance Solution, Vanderlande Industries’ site based teams are said to have the ability to monitor system performance from any location using any mobile device over Wi-Fi or GPRS. The Mobile Maintenance Solution (MMS) is available now to new and existing Vanderlande customers who have implemented a full service solution and use a permanently site-based Vanderlande support team.
Apple is a company whose heart beats mobile
MBTA and Masabi to Launch First Smartphone Rail Ticketing System in the US
BOSTON, MA – 23rd April 2012 – Today, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)and Masabi US Ltd, the transit mobile ticketing pioneer, jointly announce that they will be bringing mobile ticketing to MBTA commuter rail riders this fall.
With applications for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, customers will be able to seamlessly purchase commuter rail tickets and passes. Once tickets are purchased, customers will be able to use and display directly via their phone screen.
“MassDOT and the MBTA are striving to bring our customers convenience without added costs. We are delivering just that with this project and this technology,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.
“With this new and innovative approach, we are putting a ticket machine right in the palms of our customers’ hands,” said Acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis.
Less than half of MBTA’s 140 Commuter Rail stations have fare vending machines, forcing many customers to pay for tickets on board. But that will soon change as riders will be able to purchase tickets via credit or debit cards directly from their phones. Monthly pass holders will be able to seamlessly link a plastic CharlieCard to their pass allowing them “tap-in” instead of using magnetic tickets for the MBTA subway and bus systems.
The new solution will help the MBTA reduce costs by eliminating the need for additional vending machines and lowering cash handling costs. To help combat fare evasion, all mobile tickets will have barcodes allowing for validation. Throughout the pilot program, smart phone-equipped train conductors will be checking tickets to ensure their validity. Masabi will provide a comprehensive mTicketing solution including; consumer-facing applications, backend servers, payment integration and scanning/validation software for train conductors.
“By placing a personalized ticket machine in the pocket of commuters, they can now buy tickets wherever they are, faster than ever before,” said Giacomo Biggiero, Director of Masabi US Ltd. “MBTA will also see significant benefits in terms of reducing costly cash handling charges and the cost of additional ticket machines. We are delighted to be working with them to launch our first mTicketing system in the U.S.”
In the coming months, the MBTA will be inviting customers to participate in designing the new applications via focus groups and a small group pilot which will roll out in late summer. The full deployment to all MBTA customers is expected this fall.
All transactions are secured using the award-winning encryptME security system that has been validated to U.S. Government standards.
955 Dreams, the next-generation mobile publishing company, closes $3.25M seed round
Mountain View, CA: January 26th, 2012
955 Dreams Inc., a next generation mobile publishing company announces the closing of a $3.25M seed round. Participating in this round are leading technology investors, including 500 Startups, m8 Capital, Kapor Capital, Felicis Ventures, and CrunchFund. This round is being led by 500 Startups and m8 Capital. 500 Startups is a Mountain View-based seed fund and startup accelerator program. m8 Capital is a London-based venture capital firm that invests in mobile technology.
Dave McClure of 500 Startups will join the company’s board. Dave has been an ardent supporter of 955 Dreams since its inception in 2010 and continues to provide guidance as the company and its products mature in the mobile ecosystem.
The company has launched three titles into the iTunes AppStore since 2010 using their proprietary publishing platform: The History of Jazz, On the Way to Woodstock and Band of the Day.
The company’s products have enjoyed tremendous success, with all 3 of its products having been picked by Apple as App of the Week. Two of these products are in the iPad and iPhone Hall of Fame and Band of the Day was selected as iPhone App of the Year Runner-Up for 2011. Band of the Day also made several year end top ten lists, including being selected by the New York Times as one of its Best Apps of 2011.
With this funding, the company will continue to expand its product range, expand onto other mobile OSs, and expand its global footprint.
“Our publishing platform has consistently produced high quality products that resonate with users all over the world, allowing us to achieve four App of the weeks in one year. There is an absolute and unrelenting focus on maintaining a high level of quality throughout the product and ensuring that the experience for the user is not compromised in any way” says Founder and CEO Kiran Bellubbi.
“We were relentless in our design iterations for this publishing platform. We refined every speck of the experience, the UI, the backend, and the overall look of this product. Just like the calendar that Band of the Day is built around, the way band photos reveal as you run your finger over the calendar…this is the result of a thousand tiny iterative decisions. We try very hard to take nothing for granted about the end experience. We strive to delight users!” Says Co-Founder and CDO T.J. Zark
“955 Dreams is already changing the face of mobile publishing. With its unwavering dedication to great design, the company is delivering immersive content to mobile devices in groundbreaking ways. And both consumers and critics have resoundingly approved. We are thrilled to be part of the 955 Dreams Team,” said Joseph Kim, m8 Capital’s General Partner.
With this announcement the company is also launching The Band of the Day iPad version into the App Store. BoD which is built on the 955 Publishing Engine comes with beautiful magazine like layouts, a unique navigation mechanism that allows users to flip through pages in the review and bios for bands that are featured daily within the app. Band Of The Day is a revolutionary new way to discover great music directly on your iPhone, iTouch and iPad. Built from the ground up for iOS Devices, it is an exciting and simple way to find great bands from all over the world. Discover, Listen and Share new music with the ones you love. BoD is available for free on the App Store. BoD has added over half a million unique users in under 4 months and continues to see tremendous growth in the iOS ecosystem. With the iPad launch the company hopes millions of new users will enjoy new music and discover great new artists daily on their iPads, iPhones and iTouch’s.
955 Dreams is a next-generation publishing company focused on bringing the best of modern mobile technology to the media industry. The company is creating a new breed of magazines that users can enjoy on their mobile devices and will partner with the best content providers to build the most engaging mobile products for consumers. Learn more about 955 Dreams and their publishing platform on www.955dreams.com
With this Series Seed round of funding, 955 Dreams will be inviting Dave McClure from 500 Startups to the Board of Directors. Dave has been an ardent supporter of 955 Dreams since its inception in 2010 and continues to provide guidance as the company and its products mature in the appStore. 500 Startups is a seed fund and startup accelerator program that focuses on helping startups succeed through Design, Data and Distribution.