Pelago Secures $15 Million In Funding For Mobile Social Network On A Map
Tuesday, May 27, 2008; 12:00 PM
Seattle-based Pelago, which has been developing a mobile social network called Whrrl, plans to announce either today or tomorrow that it has secured $15 million in a second round of funding, however several media outlets are already reporting the news today. Participating in the round is Deutsche Telekom's venture capital arm, T-Mobile Venture Fund, with funds coming from Reliance Technology Ventures and Palo Alto-based DAG Ventures. Original investors in Pelago's first round, totaling $7.4 million, were Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Trilogy Equity Partners and Bezos Expeditions, also participated. Originally, Pelago received funding from Kleiner, but after the prestigious valley firm announced it was launching the $100 million iFund, Pelago was transfered over to become the first iPhone application investment.
Think of the company's application, Whrrl, as a mix between Facebook, City Search and Loopt. The social networking element is that you can share this information with friends, the directory part is that there's a list of restaurants and events that your friends can rate and say whether they are going to or not, and the Loopt part is you can see what your friends are up to. The information is exclusive to Whrrl because it's updated by a team in the Phillipines. Today, the application supports about 17 cities, and the Java application runs on a number of phones with Blackberry (and presumably iPhone) support coming shortly. With GPS support coming, users will also be able to update their whereabouts and write reviews of restaurants where they are at much faster. The new funds will be used for deploying the application across North America and into new overseas markets.
Clearly, the team is working quickly on an iPhone version that will correspond with the launch of the 3G version. As the first iFund investment, I'm sure there's a lot of pressure to be out there looking good. However, with T-Mobile's investment, it raises questions about whether Pelago will also create a Google ( NSDQ: GOOG) Android version. Of course, internationally, T-Mobile is selling the iPhone, but in the U.S., T-Mobile USA is supporting Google Android, and is expected to be the first to launch a device later this year.
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