Social voting app Polar has raised $1.2 milliom from Yahoo founder Jerry Yang at AME Cloud Ventures, Greylock Partners’ John Lilly, LiveOps Chairman and former eBay COO Maynard Webb, Ash Patel at Morado Ventures, Brian O’Malley Mike Dauber at Battery Ventures, Google’s Don Dodge, Sam Pullara, and others.
Polar is the brainchild of co-founder Luke Wroblewski, a former VP at Yahoo and the co-founder of BagCheck, which was acquired by Twitter in 2011. The idea behind Polar came when Wroblewski and his partner Jeff Cole noticed that friends were looking for things to do during their “downtime” on their phones, when people would normally check Tweets or Facebook. He felt that there was an opportunity to allow consumers to spend this time on a mobile app using other social interactions.
Polar’s iOS app lets you vote on photos polls about fashion, film, food, and much more. It’s sort of like a “Hot or Not” for the modern world. Via the app, you can ask people for their opinions on anything, and get responses quickly, as well as upload images and other media.
Polar takes these interactions a step further by collecting data from votes and preferences to start building out a friend and interest graph that will match you with like-minded people. And Polar has seen some impressive growth since its launch in November. The startup hit 1.5 million votes in its first month, and doubled this to 3 million votes in January. The average number of votes (users) per day is around 55.
Why the high engagement? Wroblewski says that the company’s focus on designing for mobile has made the iOS app easy to use and engaging. The company says that 87 percent of people who download the app vote.
The startup is also announcing an update to the app, adding the abilities to see how friends vote, finding friends within the app, skipping uninteresting polls and the exploration of Topics & Tags.
The new funding will be used toward hiring (the company has been just Wroblewski and Cole until early this year) and product development.
Check out the app update in the video below.