Flutter, the startup that launched this past spring out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class, has closed on $1.4 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, and Spring Ventures, along with Start Fund and a handful of individual angel investors.
The cash will be put toward further scaling out Flutter’s team and its technology, which provides gesture detection and recognition from standard webcam devices. Flutter’s first app, which is currently available for the Mac, lets you control the play function on media apps such as iTunes, Spotify and Quicktime by simply waving your hand at your computer.
Flutter has received a very warm reception from users since it made its official debut on the Mac App Store late last month. It’s now been downloaded by users in more than 90 countries, and in its first two weeks in the App Store it has become one of the top five apps in terms of downloads in the free entertainment app category in more than 30 countries (in the United States it stayed at the #2 spot for a while, and at press time it’s in the number five spot.) It has been the #1 free entertainment app in 14 countries, and became the top free app overall in Sweden, Korea, Taiwan and Italy.
Not bad for an app that was built by a company that now has just seven full-time employees. But Flutter’s co-founders Navneet Dalal and Mehul Nariyawala tell me that the company has lots more on the roadmap. Right now, a version of the Flutter app for Windows is in private alpha, and the company is also planning to roll out new features for Mac that will recognize more gestures and control more media apps.
The larger vision is to make it so that we can control certain features on all the electronic devices we use through gestures. As I wrote when I first interviewed Dalal and Nariyawala back in March:
“It’s a big ambition, but it makes a lot of sense. Webcam hardware has become so inexpensive — about 50 cents a pop — one is included in practically any new laptop, tablet or phone that enters the market today. But we really only use them for two purposes: Shooting photos or videos, or video-chatting with others. The guys at Flutter envision a future where we use gestures along with our voices to tell our machines what to do, rather than pressing buttons or clicking a mouse. It’s all about interacting with our devices in a more natural, human way. As an expert in computer vision, Dalal especially is well-positioned to lead this push.”
And here is the video from that first interview, where you can see the earliest version of Flutter in action and hear Dalal and Nariyawala describe their vision first-hand: