Stealth startup OnBeep got a little less stealthy today, announcing a new Series A round of $6.25 million in funding including investment from Riche Levandov of Avalon ventures, and including previous seed funding from WordPress-creator Matt Mullenweg and others. The company revealed a bit about their secretive product development back in January, when they talked about their efforts regarding developing communication wearables devices.
Today, the company (which is led by co-founders Jesse Robbins, Greg Albrecht, and Roger Wood), have shared a bit more: The team, made up of 20 designers, engineers and other professionals with a strong background including time spent at Apple, Google, Motorola, iRobot and Amazon has partnered with PCH International’s Access accelerator to help bring the device to production this year.
Their OnBeep hardware is described as “beautiful wearable communication devices that unite groups and allow teams to collaborate more fluidly in real time,” and Robbins, the company’s CEO, says they want to deliver a solution that lets groups of people communicate without their phone, in situations ranging from attending sporting events and music festivals, to groups of friends on vacation or parents wrangling groups of kids at a zoo.
The SF-based company is planning a preview of the device for this fall, and interested parties can sign up on their website to learn more. They still haven’t drawn back the curtain on what the devices will actually look like, but expect something designed to challenge the incumbent Push-to-Talk technology, which is beginning to show its age and hasn’t really found a serious challenger despite all the recent advancements in mobile communication tech. One big reason to suspect that’s the case: co-founder Roger Wood was instrumental in the evolution of Push-to-Talk thanks to his involvement in the creation of iDEN, which some call the “first mobile social network.“