Following Apple’s acquisition of Chomp, the app search and discovery business continues to heat up. Last month, app search startup Quixey raised a healthy $20 million Series B, and today a much younger startup, AppHero, has raised a $1.8 million seed round for its app recommendation platform.
The round included investment from OMERS Ventures, Golden Venture Partners, and ENIAC Ventures along with other angels and seed funds who, combined, have put in around $1.3 million. An additional $500,000 came from other undisclosed sources.
The company is building an app recommendation service that helps users find new applications to try by analyzing their historical activity and their social data. It also includes a friending functionality so users can see which apps their friends are installing and recommending.
At first glance, this setup sounds very similar to what the mobile app recommendation platform Crosswalk is currently doing. Like AppHero, Crosswalk keeps track of your apps and allows you to recommend your favorite ones to others. And it does a better job at figuring out your interests than iTunes Genius does, in my opinion. However, while Crosswalk taps into Facebook (and other services) to discover which of your friends are on the platform, AppHero takes a different route – it actually uses your Facebook data to help it make its recommendations.
According to AppHero founder Jordan Satok, also the creator of popular website App of the Day, AppHero looks at nearly everything you do on Facebook including liked comments and threads, liked pages, your shares, profile data, interests, location and more. However, it’s not parsing the text in your status updates just yet, although that is something they’re now working on, he says.
A recent high school graduate, Satok started AppHero in May 2011, finding inspiration in the untapped potential of mobile technology. “These devices are capable of so much, and people are under-utilizing them,” he says. “I’ve been thinking about how we can deliver the most value to consumers, and it led down this path of thinking about the space of personalization.”
He thinks that AppHero is a better tool for app discovery than an app search site because search is only great when you already know what you’re looking for. “But people don’t know what they don’t know,” he says. As for the comparisons with Crosswalk and the like, he claims the big differentiator is the underlying intelligence in AppHero. Not only does the service understand “who someone is and what they’re like,” Satok says, it also learns more about them over time by tracking their Facebook social data (think: updated location, marital status, likes etc.) and activity (e.g., geo-location, app downloads and likes/dislikes).
Currently a team of five, AppHero will use the new seed funding to hire machine learning experts to help grow the team.