Indian Music Streaming Startup Dhingana Faces An Uncertain Future After T-Series Pulls Its Licensing Agreement

Posted December 24, 2013 & filed under Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

Dhingana 3Indian streaming music startup Dhingana faces an uncertain future after T-Series, its biggest music label partner, said it will not be renewing their licensing agreement.

Soundbox reported last week, and T-Series president Neeraj Kalyan confirmed to TechCrunch, that the company will not renew the license set to expire for nearly 8,000 songs from Dhingana’s catalogue. “We were not able to see much traction in the service and secondly we couldn’t agree on the commercials and both parties thus decided to part ways in an amicable manner,” said Kalyan. Continue reading

Apple Reportedly Acquires Note-Taking App Catch, BroadMap Talent

Posted & filed under Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

apple-mapsTwo more Apple acquisitions have reportedly been unearthed today by 9to5Mac. The first is of Catch, a note-taking app similar to Evernote that was likely acquired back in July, and the second is BroadMap. The BroadMap acquisition seems more complicated, however, as the company maintains that it still exists and operates separately from Apple, despite much of its staff having moved to Apple according to their LinkedIn profiles. Continue reading

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Giant Elance, oDesk Merger & Ensuing Backlash (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Posted December 23, 2013 & filed under Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 6.25.51 AMWhile visions of strategic synergies and competitors running for cover danced in the heads of company executives, the scores of freelancers who use oDesk and Elance to find work or hire support don’t seem ready to break out the pom-poms. Angry customers let their opinions be heard en masse on Elance’s blog this morning, while oDesk’s Facebook page drew a similar reaction. And so did the announcement in its community portal. Continue reading

For Holiday Shopping, Mobile Apps Bring Out My Inner Grinch

Posted December 22, 2013 & filed under Mobile Apps Feeds, Mobile News, Startups.

Grinch

Every week for this column, I write about something related to mobile technology or apps. It would be only natural, then, for me to devote at least one column to the intersection of mobile and commerce, especially during such a festive time of year. I’ll state upfront that I don’t particularly love the hecticness of holiday shopping — the overcrowded stores, the same holiday songs on an endless playback loop, and the quintessential Black Friday stampedes. As I result, I try to take care of all shopping online. If you’re reading this, you probably feel the same way. Up to this year, I’d complete 99% of shopping via Amazon, but this holiday season, I wanted to see what the state of consumer mobile apps were on the market. The result, I must admit, brought out my inner “Grinch.”

Continue reading

Mobile Rewards Startup Kiip Upgrades Its User Contests With New “Challenges” Product

Posted December 21, 2013 & filed under Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

kiip-challengesWhen Kiip announced last week that that it’s powering rewards in Zepto Labs’ popular Cut the Rope mobile games, co-founder and CEO Brian Wong said it didn’t share one of the key details (because, uh, reasons) — that this is the debut of a new Kiip product called Challenges.

The company is best-known for allowing advertisers to sponsor rewards in games and other apps at key moments, say when players beat a level. With Challenges, instead of just giving each user a reward, brands can run contests and sweepstakes and give prizes to the winners. For example, Wong said Cut the Rope players will have a chance to win plush toys today. Continue reading

Gift Guide: Something For A Twenty-Something

Posted & filed under Gadgets, Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

giftguide-collegeTwenty-somethings are some of the hardest people to shop for. They’re changing so quickly, interests waxing and waning by the day, that it can be pretty difficult to figure out a great gift for the holidays.

But have no fear.

At least one of these four suggestions should be a good fit for a young professional or college student, whether they’re your family member or friend. Continue reading

Facebook Eyeing Up A $10-$15M Acquisition Of India’s Little Eye Labs

Posted & filed under Android, Mobile Apps Feeds, Mobile News, Startups.

Little Eye LabsWe now have more details on Facebook’s plans to acquire Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs, an Indian startup whose primary product is a software tool for analyzing Android apps’ performance. Multiple sources have told us that the two companies exchanged the term sheets few weeks ago, and that a final announcement could be made by mid-January. The deal size is expected to be in the range of $10-15 million. Overall, the Little Eye Labs acquisition fits right into in Facebook’s mobile ambitions, an area where it has lagged rivals like Twitter, despite having some 874 million of its 1.19 billion-strong (September figures) user base logged on via mobile devices. And Facebook has been on the lookout for startups that could potentially help it gain a greater foothold on mobile devices. As part of its aggressive mobile strategy, Facebook acquired Parse, a mobile-backend-as-a-service startup in April of this year. A Facebook acquisition of Little Eye Labs would mean a lot for an Indian startup that’s less than one-and-a-half years old, and it would mean much more for the Indian startup ecosystem as a whole, where acquisitions of this profile have been tough to come by. While exploring potential acquirers, Little Eye Labs also pitched to Twitter, but Facebook seemed to offer a better deal, another source added. One of the sources who shared some details about this proposed acquisition said that if the deal closes, most of the Little Eye Labs’ founding team will move to Facebook’s U.S. headquarters, and work there as part of the mobile engineering team. Little Eye Labs caught the attention of potential acquirer(s) in Seedcamp, London, where the startup was refining its product along with 20 other companies. Gaurav Lochan, who joined Little Eye labs from India’s largest e-commerce company, Flipkart, earlier this year, had this to say about using the startup’s tool for fixing a bug in Google’s official I/Q app at the event. Flipkart, was also the first customer for Little Eye Labs. Kumar Rangarajan, co-founder of Little Eye labs, had even acknowledged that the company was in discussions with Facebook earlier this month, after reports of the acquisition first surfaced. However, Rangarajan could not be reached at the time of publication. A Facebook spokesperson, who had earlier declined to offer any comments, has also not responded. The Little Eye founders — Kumar Rangarajan, Satyam Kandula, Lakshman Kakkirala and Giridhar Murthy, all worked together previously at IBM. Continue reading

Backed By Steve Blank & More, Startup Genome Founders Launch Next-Gen Benchmarking Tool For Startups

Posted December 20, 2013 & filed under Dev News, Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 5.43.34 AMThree years ago, a team of researchers, entrepreneurs and data geeks set out on an ambitious mission: To put the world’s technology startups under the microscope in an effort to better understand why some succeed and why 90 percent eventually go the way of the dinosaur. Fast forward to today, and The Startup Genome (as it’s now called) has analyzed data from over 100,000 startups around the globe and has conducted hundreds of in-depth, qualitative interviews with entrepreneurs and investors. The results provide an exciting look into not only what characteristics and qualities make for a successful formula, but how different startup ecosystems stack up with each other. The team behind the project has also begun to leverage its unique data sets to create a benchmarking tool to enable entrepreneurs to evaluate their progress compared to their peers and help them make more informed product and business decisions. This month, after more than a year of testing and tweaking, the team finally released Compass into the wild. Compared to prior iterations, Compass founder and CEO Bjoern Herrmann (who is also one of the co-founders of The Startup Genome Project) tells us, the now fully-baked startup benchmarking tool offers automated data collection from a host of tools and services popular among SMBs, including services like Salesforce.com, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, PayPal, Quickbooks and Stripe. Using data derived from the sources, Compass then funnels your startup’s business metrics into its revamped dashboard, allowing them to view company benchmarks across a range of categories, configure an alert system to stay up to date on company revenue, churn rate, user growth rate, acquisition costs and so on, while offering visualizations of that data in correlation charts, graphs and via tailored, supplemental analysis. But the real key to the new Compass product, Herrmann says, its the new dynamic system its team developed to generate benchmarks based on large data sets. Up until today, most benchmarking solutions have relied on 50-year-old methodologies to collect and analyze data, so, the team has instead developed a methodology designed specifically for Big Data analysis. For example, prior iterations of Compass only grouped companies in to two categories — B2B or B2C — which, of course, is a fairly limited taxonomy given the diversity of startups out there. The new product, however, places companies along a continuous spectrum based on the “complexity of customer interaction,” Herrmann explains. On one end Continue reading

InVision Raises $11.6M From FirstMark Capital And Tiger Global

Posted & filed under Dev News, Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

invision-pinkInVision, a prototyping tool for thousands of web developers and designers, has recently closed an $11.6 million Series A round from FirstMark Capital and Tiger Global.

The company launched in 2011 out of New York with a mission to make it easy for designers to share, interact with, and get feedback on their prototypes. Users can easily upload Photoshop files to the web and add interactions to form a simulation, all within a normal web browser under a single link (which can be password protected). Continue reading

Warby Parker Raises $60 Million From Existing Investors, Fortune Reports

Posted & filed under Mobile Apps Feeds, Startups.

WarbyOnline eyeglasses company Warby Parker just raised a $60 million Series C round from its existing investors, with Tiger Global Management leading. General Catalyst Partners, Spark Capital, Thrive Capital and First Round Capital also reinvested. Fortune reported the news first. It is likely that the company wasn’t short on cash before raising this round. But the momentum was right for the company as receiving new cash from existing investors is a great vote of confidence. Warby Parker plans to increase its customer support team. As Zappos showed everyone, having a great support team is an important asset when it comes to large-scale specialized e-commerce companies. The startup first started as a way to get cheaper glasses. Instead of selling traditional brands, Warby Parker chose to go directly to the manufacturers in China and work with them. By removing the middleman and selling exclusively on its website, the startup became very competitive while maintaining healthy margins. Recently, the company put a toe in the water by opening a bricks-and-mortar store in New York. But the website remains the main retail location. As a reminder, the company raised $41.5 million in January. Warby Parker now has enough cash to do small acquisitions. But it’s still unclear whether an IPO is in the works. Continue reading