Swipp, is the first true startup that received us in our Orange Blogger Bus tour. I know Silicon Valley is full of magic, but honestly I did not expect the very first one could give us that much of a surprise.
Swipp managed to raise $3.5m with its idea and vision, which simply tells how strong the founding team is. Don Thorson, CEO and cofounder was actively involved in the birth of video games (Atari), computers (Apple), and the internet (Netscape) and most recently two early stage start-ups, Jajah and Ribbit, both of which had happy endings; Charlie Costantini, the original force behind the Swipp idea, the early employee of Apple; Ramani Narayan, the CTO is also a very experienced tech veteran.
So what Swipp does. On its official site, we read that it is the creator of a new platform that sits at the intersection of social media, personal data and commerce.
Obviously, it does not give us much clues how Swipp actually works. Unfortunately, as the company is still in stealth mode right now, the information we can gather is very limited. Brett Murray, the VP of Consume gave us an example. “We know Facebook is collecting users’ data and use the data for something.” He said, “So if I am in Seattle, probably Facebook knows it and will show me the flight tickets from Seattle to other places such as San Francisco, which is cool, but the question is how Facebook knows if I like SF or not. Facebook does not know it, but Swipp could tell you. Users shared data on their social networks, and Swipp wants to bring the real value back to users based on this data.”
That sounds superb, doesn’t it! Don added that Swipp is going to focus on not just the product innovation, the platform innovation, the business innovation, but also the market innovation. We all know that the top social networks like Facebook are still trying hard to prove their business model is durable enough to match its heart-breaking valuation, and the business model for Twitter is not clear, yet. Swipp, from what we heard, is going to bring up a convincing business model from the first day. “It’s going to be a combination of B2B and B2C business, and the product will be cross-platform on both web and mobile”, and “we definitely are not going to replace Facebok, Twitter or any other well-established social networks. Our vision is the 2nd era of social networking, to understand what the world thinks!”.
Early this morning, we heard from Duncan Logan, the founder & CEO of RocketSpace saying that it does not make much sense that Silicon Valley startups should target at international market at beginning (unless they are strong enough like Twitter, EverNote and so on) because Duncan thinks the local market is big enough for them. But the plan we heard from Swipp is it will be available in 8 languages on its official launch, and they will launch a so-called ambassador program that helps Swipp to enter the global market.
Don said that initially they only asked for half a million dollars for funding, but later on they believe that Swipp would eventually become a Platform, something much bigger than they thought. So they told the investors they need more to build up the idea, and it ended up with a $3.5m check…The one-year old startup Swipp is so mysterious and indeed ambitious.
Don wrote in Swipp’s blog when he announced the funding,
You have a new idea. The idea turns into a sketch, which turns into a prototype…you move forward. The idea gets bigger. It changes and morphs as more eyes see it and more hands touch it. You learn from everybody – existing companies, team members, friends. You fold in everything.
So, maybe, we just met Silicon Valley’s next miracle!!