Ready to start expanding, the creators of smartphone app ASAPP! have launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to raise £110,000.
ASAPP 4ASAPP! is a free app that is available to iOS and Android devices that allows businesses to target the right people in your neighborhood or town. It uses the phone’s inbuilt GPS technology to determine the user’s location to create a virtual perimeter (or Geo Fence). These fences have a diameter of 5 meters to 5 kilometers and can be drawn from around a corner shop, a football stadium or a city center.
Oyster, a startup that offers offers unlimited access to its collection of e-books for $9.99 per month, has crossed a nice milestone — it says its library now includes 500,000 books, compared to 100,000 when it launched in September of last year.
The company also said it recently expanded its partnership with HarperCollins, bringing 10,000 more of the publisher’s titles (including Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman) into Oyster. And it has signed new deals with publishers including McSweeney’s, Chronicle Books, Grove Atlantic, and Wiley.
Eko is one of a new wave of stripped-down, souped-up business messaging apps. Today the Thai-American startup revealed that it has secured US$1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups and unnamed angel investors. Eko’s apps for iOS and Android are reminiscent of the simplicity of WhatsApp or iMessage, but also add in a few extra tools for enterprise users, such as tasks and networks. There’s also a web app for desktop-based users. The startup launched the service last September. The messaging app is up against a ton of biz-focused rivals, such as HipChat, Flowdock, Convo, Cotap, Fleep, and TigerText. They’re all treading on the toes of venerable enterprise platforms like Yammer and Campfire.
Last week, chat app Line announced that it passed the 300 million download milestone for its gaming platform Line Game. That’s a huge achievement considering it is under two years old, launching just in July 2012.
Since its launch in late June last year, Soundwave, the Mark Cuban-backed music discovery app that tracks the listening habits of you, your friends and other users you follow, had at least one gaping omission. It was mobile-only — iOS and Android — meaning that there was no way for the service to track music you consumed on a desktop computer.
Now the Dublin-based startup has enabled desktop tracking in the form of a Chrome browser extension so that a plethora of desktop web-based music services can send listening data to the Soundwave app.
Specifically, the list of services that the Chrome extension is able to track includes Pandora, Spotify, Deezer, 8tracks, Songza, Rdio, Google Play Music, VK (particularly beneficial for Soundwave’s large Russian user base), India’s Gaana, and Grooveshark.
What’s also notable about the limited desktop tracking support is that it’s strictly one-way. There’s no desktop version of Soundwave itself; this is purely about providing a way to plug desktop web listening data into the service — picking up where the ‘scrobbling’ feature of Last.fm left off, if you will — rather than extending the number of platforms where Soundwave and all of its music discovery and social features can be consumed.
Regarding the latter, Soundwave recently added comments and #hashtags to its mobile apps, as well as Twitter integration so that you can share music discoveries on the social media service.
Of course, just like the recent addition of YouTube tracking, Soundwave’s Chrome extension means it is closer to fulfilling its mission to become the one-stop-shop for tracking your listening habits and in turn helping you discover new music through the listening habits of your friends and influencers you follow. Likewise, it doesn’t harm the company’s Big Data play, either, in which it plans to sell aggregate listening data back to the music industry.
Soundwave is also sharing some updated metrics with TechCrunch. Combining iOS and Android the app has seen over 950,000 downloads — up from 750,000 in December last year. I’m also told that “emerging markets” are proving pretty key for the startup, thus the desktop tracking support for Russia’s VK and India’s Gaana. Soundwave also recently achieved the top music app position in the App store in France, which resulted in 10,000 downloads in a single day. 65 million song plays have been tracked by the app’s users to date.
In addition to Mark Cuban, Soundwave’s backers include ACT Venture Capital, Enterprise Ireland, Matthew Le Merle, and Trevor Bowen, one of the people behind U2′s management company Principle Management. Funding totals $1.5 million.
Popular Japanese news reader app Gunosy has closed a funding round led by local telco KDDI, according to The Bridge. The amount was not disclosed, but The Bridge estimates somewhere between US$12 million and US$14 million. A chunk of the new investment will go toward TV advertisements, which have a proven track record in Japan of attracting users. The most notable example is social chat app Line, whose famous sticker characters even have their own TV show. Other apps advertising on TV there include KakaoTalk, DeNA’s Comm, and several mobile games. Gunosy’s main revenue stream comes from display advertisements, which are highly targeted depending on the content of the article. The ad technology is likely the real attraction for investors, as the advertisements on the app have performed well since launching last November.