The new iPhone may not have it, but the next one probably will — and it’s becoming increasingly commonplace on Android and other smartphone platforms alike.
Yes, Near Field Communication (NFC for short), is finally starting to make its way into the hands of consumers. And a YC-backed company called Tagstand is looking to help developers take advantage of the technology, by giving them (and brands) all the tools and special, NFC-equipped stickers they need.
Today the YC-backed company, which we first covered in August, is announcing that it’s raised a $1.1 million funding round that includes many notable angels. The full list: Yuri Milner, SV Angel, Naval Ravikant, Paul Buchheit, Yael Shazeer, Christina Brodbeck, Anand Agarawala, Mike Berolzheimer, Bee Partners, Quotidian Ventures, TEEC (Chinese angel network), Vaizra Investments (Israeli fund), Dean Smith, Christopher Morton, and Anand Swaminathan.
At this point Tagstand’s catalog includes a variety of NFC-enabled stickers for different use cases (outdoor stickers, stickers that’ll cancel interference so they work on metal surfaces, etc.) and NFC reader/writers. Once in the field, these stickers can be managed from a web-based control panel.
Cofounder Kulveer Taggar says that the company, which is already generating five-figure revenues each month, is seeing especially large growth in so-called “smart-posters” in retail and advertising. At this point there are 20,000 different stickers in the field, and that figure is growing around 50% month over month. Perhaps more important, engagement on each of these tags is increasing three-fold each month (in other words, more people are using NFC).
Most of this growth has been international, where NFC has a stronger presence — for example, Tagstand worked with Adshel to launch the largest NFC campaign in Australia for a supermarket chain called Coles, which has 50 sites in Melbourne). And Taggar says that the US is beginning to pick up steam in terms of NFC deployment.
More broadly, Taggar says that the growing number of NFC-enabled phones (you can see an exhaustive list here) is contributing to a general rise in interest from developers. A third of the company’s NFC orders are coming from businesses, and two-thirds are from engineers and hobbyists interested in experimenting with the technology.