Swedish Startup Foap Raises $500M From Asian Investors

You know we love startups with silly names. Obviously Foap is one of those startups.  The Swedish startup is creating a stock photography market place where the photographers can be anyone in the world with a smartphone or a connected camera.

The premise is simple. The user registers with the Foap platform. They upload pictures of whatever they want to and Foap sells the pictures for $10 a piece to news outlets, bloggers, and other users. You sell the rights to the photo away but heck most smartphone pics happen by accident and even if they aren’t by accident, they don’t take but a second to shoot.

Foap splits the $10 right down the middle and the photographer gets paid. Funny name, easy startup right?

To date Foap has nearly 1 million images for sale on their platform. They’ve seen over $150,000 downloads of their app and 1.4 million photos uploaded since launch.

That was enough to land $500,000 from Asian investment firm Jade Global Investments.

“We always knew we had something pretty special to offer iPhone users but the success we’ve experienced so far is unbelievable and the interest in investors from Asia has been overwhelming”, said co-founder, David Los. “We’re fully focused on growing our market of iPhone images and establishing ourselves as one of the major players in the stock imagery industry.”

“We are delighted to announcement our investment in Foap, a company that we’ve been monitoring closely over the past six months,” said Jacky Lu, CEO of Jade Global Investments based in Asia. “We believe Foap can be extremely successful and as one of the first in this space to go to market, it stands a great chance of success. The company is perfectly positioned to make a big impact on the stock photography industry and that’s something we want to be a part of.”

“We are very excited to have such an experienced investor on board.  It’s not just the funding that will benefit the company, but the knowledge and expertise Jacky and the team will be able to offer”, commented Los. “The success we’ve experienced so far has been unbelievable and this round of funding means we can continue to drive forward towards reaching the ambitious goals we have set for the company


Check out Foap here

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Interview With Austin Startup: NOOM, Next One’s On Me

Late last week we brought you the story about Baltimore startup BeerGivr which allows people to buy their friends beer using their mobile phone from a remote location, at participating beers. The concept is easy, if you can’t join your friends at the bar you can still pick up a round or buy the birthday girl/boy a shot or beer. You sign into the app, and let it know how many beers and voila its done. BeerGivr has partnered with bars in their hometown for testing. If you buy a friend a beer and they’re not at a participating bar or restaurant they can have that beer converted into Paypal dollars.

Well an Austin startup has taken a similar concept and expanded it to a wide variety of offerings primarily in the under $10 arena. With NOOM (Next One’s On Me), you can buy a gift for a friend using your mobile phone. Ideas include cupcakes,coffee, beers, lunch etc. You simply send your friend a virtual gift certificate through NOOM and they actually get the gift.

NOOM co-founder Sara Rodell gives us a great use case example in our interview below. Say you just met a great new friend or business colleague, it would be very awkward to shake hands and give them $5 or $10 and say “hey the next coffee is on me”, but with NOOM it’s a gesture appreciated, and used.

Right now NOOM is available in the Apple iTunes store and exclusively for Austin area merchants however they are expanding quickly and plan on bringing Houston on in the very near future. NOOM currently has 20 Austin area merchants participating including bakeries, ice cream shops, coffee shops, restaurants and bars.

Check out our interview with Rodell below

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Atlanta Startup: NearbyThis Launched Last Week At Virginia Highland Summerfest

nearbythis,groupon,atlanta startup,startup,kayak.comNearbyThis is exactly what you think it would be, a new “discovery” mobile app for iPhone. Ray Abram CEO of NearbyThis and lead developer Glenn Martin, say that their app is different though because it drills down and geo targets advertising.

“NearbyThis helps consumers see what’s going on around them in real time and save money with daily deals by leveraging social media,” Abram said. “For retailers, NearbyThis offers the power to have two-way conversations with mobile customers. Advertisers, meanwhile, can take advantage of innovative geo-targeted technology by placing ads on users’ phones when they’re nearby places that sell their products.”

“Imagine going to a mall and having all coupons for nearby stores on hand,  having the ability to receive realtime communications from the stores, as well as promotions from advertisers selling goods in those stores,” Martin said to the Examiner. “Other advertising models target users by behavior. We do it by proximity, which is more efficient and cost-effective.”

They recently launched NearbyThis at the popular Virginia Highland Summerfest in Atlanta last weekend. It was a great opportunity for them to launch the app in front of tens of thousands of people in an outdoor environment with plenty around to find and discover using NearbyThis.
NearbyThis also aggregates daily deals. We all know about Groupon and Living Social. We also know about the countless emails you can get for daily deals. NearbyThis pulls all that info into their app as well.
We’ve solved the problem with daily deal spam,” Abram said. “You get these emails every day, but you don’t want to unsubscribe because occasionally you find ones you like. We put all deals for nearby places on one page so you can just scroll through the list to see what you like.”
Another key advantage to NearbyThis is that Martin is no stranger to technology, mobile apps and big data. He holds the patents that power the widely popular Kayak.com travel site.
NearbyThis is combining the power of daily deals apps,social networking apps and geo-location or LBS (location based services apps) into one easy to use app and interface.
Find out more about NearbyThis at their website here
Here’s the iTunes page for NearbyThis 
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Seattle Startup Doxo Launches One Click Bill Payment For Mobile

Doxo, the Seattle based all in one digital file cabinet and e-payment startup has launched a new one click payment method for bill paying and to top it off, it’s available on mobile as well.

Although Crunchbase has Doxo formed in 2008, the company launched the Doxo platform in mid 2011. Their all in one service allows users to manage all types of bills from one simple easy to use platform. Now you don’t have to bookmark 5 different credit card sites, all your utility sites and your car note. Everything is managed by logging into Doxo.

Doxo and their all in one digital file cabinet and e-pay system is backed by the king of all e-commerce, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, through his investment arm. In addition to their consumer customers, Doxo has attracted government clients in Washington including: Benton County, Chelan County, Clallam County, Clark County, Franklin County, Island County, Lincoln County, Pend Oreille County, Spokane County, Stevens County, Thurston County, Walla Walla County, Clallam County Public Utilities, Mukilteo Water and Sewer District, Lake Stevens Utility District.

Doxo launched an iOS app last summer and just recently updated it. They also just released an Android app available in the Google Play store, both mobile apps allow consumer users to pay their bills using a one-click method on their mobile phones.

More after the break
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Boston Startup: Brass Monkey Is A Fun Interactive Mass Challenge Grad VIDEO INTERVIEW

We found an awesome startup out of Boston Massachusetts called Brass Monkey. In addition to having an uber cool name the technology is cool, innovative and fun, a definite recipe for great success.

Brass Monkey allows the user to play fun, interactive games on their computer’s monitor or any other monitor with a browser, using their iPhone as a controller. The iPhone controller utilizes all the sensors in the iPhone to create an interactive experience. In the demo video below we check out a golf game, similar to Wii Golf, that allows you to use the iPhones motion sensors to control the iPhone like a golf club.

There are currently 10 games available. Brass Monkey has a free SDK for developers who are interested in developing games on their system.

Brass Monkey is a recent graduate of the Mass Challenge program, which they credit as a large part of their success thus far.  They also received a $750k round of funding in January of this year which included the co-founders of Kima Ventures, Jeremie Berrebi,  David Beyer, CEO of Chart.io, Founder and Managing Director of Boston Seed Capital Nicole Stata, and more.

Check out the video below: