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7 Hot Mobile Startups to Watch in 2013

Jeff Vance | Jan. 4, 2013
Mobile startups are all the rage right now, and many venture capitalists are placing their bets and hoping to cash in. Here are seven new mobile ventures to keep an eye on, some of which may change how we think about mobile.

Customers include Amazon.com, CBS, University of Phoenix and Verizon.

Funding: $20 million in Series A funding from Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Insight Venture Partners.

5. aSpark

Disruption: Accelerating the enterprise adoption of consumer-led technologies, such as mobile and social media. Headquarters: New York Founded: 2011 CEO: Raj Patil. He was previously with MphasiS, an HP company, where he played several key roles in its growth to over a billion dollars in revenues. He was the President of a division with more than 17,000 employees, and prior to that led global sales as the chief sales officer.

Why they're on this list: The enterprise is struggling to figure out how to safely and cost-effectively adopt new consumer-led technologies (cloud, mobile, social media). The company has three pre-packaged apps, the most interesting of which is Panorama, which allows organizations to deliver focused content to users (CRM info, marketing data, ERP info, etc.) in a magazine-style format.

They also offer a "Mobile Backend-as-a-Service" platform that streamlines the process of building mobile apps. The platform has a user-engagement module, which helps enterprises tailor messages and content for specific users, and a mobile context service, which leverages location-based information from the user's mobile device.

Funding: Approximately $1 million from angel investors and aSpark's founders.

6. Message Bus

Disruption: Upending email and mobile marketing with a data- and analytics-centered approach to messaging. Headquarters: Corte Madera, Calif. Founded: 2010 CEO: Jeremy LaTrasse, who serves as both CEO and CTO. Previously, LaTrasse was a co-founder of Twitter and served as director of operations.

Why they're on this list: Message Bus argues that current email and mobile marketing practices are similar to CB radios--where the sender blasts a message out and hopes someone out there, anyone, receives it.

While CB radios have mostly been replaced by mobile phones, email marketing remains wedded to the old broadcasting model.

Message Bus proposes replacing this model with a data-driven approach, which actively manages the relationship between senders and recipients. "With email, your reputation is only as good as the last message you sent, and in the highly competitive and often abusive/adversarial relationship between senders and recipients, it is very easy to make mistakes where you are suddenly viewed as a bad sender," a company spokesperson wrote me. "And surprisingly, the data is there -- if you as a sender choose to collect and act upon it. Further, good actors should be rewarded just as bad actors are punished."

Message Bus' cloud-based messaging infrastructure unifies email, social and mobile communications and bases communications on data collected on user behaviors and preferences.

Funding: $14 million in two rounds from North Bridge Venture Partners and included True Ventures, Ignition Partners, James Lindenbaum, Tim Young and Jesse Robbins.

 

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