Native apps are stealing the show when it comes to usage and functionality on mobile devices these days, but a lot of companies continue to hold out hope that more open HTML5-based mobile web services will ultimately win the day. In the meantime, those who can straddle the two worlds beautifully and effectively may end up the winners.
One example comes in the form of Everything.me, a slick mobile app that lets users search for specific content across both native and mobile apps. (A full review of it is here.) Today, the company is announcing that it has picked up an investment of $25 million led Telefonica Digital, with participation from Mozilla, Singtel and existing investors, which include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, BRM Group, Horizon Ventures. The company has now raised $35.5 million to date.
The investment is strategic, in that it will see Telefonica and Mozilla, and possibly Singtel, implement Everything.me into their mobile services.
Mozilla specifically will use the app in its Firefox mobile platform currently in development. Everything.me’s visual, button-style approach to searching apps for content, integrated into the Firefox mobile platform, could prove to be a unique selling point to help differentiate it from Android, iOS, Windows Phone and the other mobile platforms on the market.
“We’ve been watching Everything.me for while and we thought they were closely aligned with our goals, both on how to present mobile experiences and to move HTML5 forward,” said Jay Sullivan, VP of product for Mozilla. “We see this as product-driven and very exciting.”
Telefonica has been working together with Mozilla on a mobile device since Februrary of this year, but it says that it also plans to implement Everything.me’s service on other devices. It sees Everything.me as a way of providing an easier user experience to the next wave of smartphone adopters, who may be less tolerant of bad user experience and steep learning curves.
“As the next generation of smartphone users come on board, they will be less sophisticated, so you need to start to make the experience much more intuitive and seamless,” said Tracy Isacke, director of investments at Telefonica Digital. The company has made a number of other investments in the vein of improving functionality on mobile devices, including leading a $35 million round in mobile payments company BOKU.
And while Everything.me currently has no revenue model worked into it, you can see how it could become a very strong vehicle for monetizing and marketing, either by offering better placement to advertisers, by way of affiliate links in its search results, and even by branded searches. In turn, companies like Telefonica, Mozilla and Singtel could also benefit from those as alternative revenue streams.
The key to making that work is to keep Everything.me delivering results people actually want. “We are not going to push apps that are irrelevant but if you are a One Direction fan you are going to get videos, and if there is an app to promote the concert you will get that as well,” says Everything.me co-founder Ami Ben David.
And, the investment, and scope for collaboration, is not just limited to mobile.
Everything.me will use this Series C investment to continue developing its existing products — it already offers an iPhone app and has an Android app in beta — which search your own apps as well as those on the web — and will develop further native apps and web services that will work on all mobile platforms.
But Everything.me’s David says the company will also be developing the product to work on desktop browsers. That’s partly to meet the demand for users to sideload apps from their computers, but also to meet the increasing demand for desktop apps, both on native platforms like Apple’s and Microsoft’s Windows 8, but also through browsers, like Firefox.
“We are seeing the lines are blurring,” he said. “You start with mobile phones but with platforms like Windows 8 you can see it’s becoming a blur. Everything that we are doing is for more openness of the web, to be able to deliver dynamically rather than just stuck with what [native apps] you have installed.”
The opportunity is big. Telefonica has 314 million customers across Latin America and Europe, taking mobile, broadband and basic telephone services. And Singtel, which covers Asia Pacific with its services (so non-competing with Telefonica at this point), adds a further 400 million to the mix. That’s on top of the 450 million Firefox users today.
Although Telefonica and Mozilla have been working together for some time on a mobile device, the decision to become co-investors was not originally part of the deal, says Isacke.
“We were working together strategically on the open web device; we weren’t looking to make investment decisions together,” she told TechCrunch. “But we thought this would be conducive to the aims and ambitions that we had. Independently we also this strong strategic relationship as important to our business.”
Official release below.
Everything.me Announces a $25 Million Strategic Investment from Telefónica, SingTel Innov8, Mozilla and Existing Investors
Investment to drive development of the innovative Everything.me service
Mountain View, CA – 28 November 2012, Everything.me (formerly DoAT), developer of an innovative HTML5-based dynamic mobile app platform, today announced it has secured $25 million in series C funding in a round led by the Silicon Valley-based venture team of Telefónica Digital. The latest round also includes investments from SingTel Innov8, Mozilla and previous investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), DFJTF, BRM Group and Horizons Ventures. The Israeli-based company will use the funding to expand its team and drive Everything.me’s ongoing development.
Everything.me is powering a new paradigm for smartphones – changing them from “smart” to “dynamic.” Rather than the static experience of today’s smartphone, a dynamic phone adapts its offering of apps on the fly, matching the content and services a user needs with the most relevant apps available – whether locally or from the cloud. This shift bridges the gap between the web and applications on mobile. Apps appear on the screen according to user intent and are all instantly available and ready to use whether the user downloaded them or not. This dynamic platform enhances mobile OS and app store experiences by providing easy access to thousands of apps, games and services available on HTML5.
“Everything.me was started to harness the power of HTML5 and the openness of the web to disrupt the mobile industry,” said Rami Kasterstein, CEO and Co-Founder, Everything.me. “We see this investment as evidence of the capabilities of fully-mobile web apps, which Everything.me provides to users at their fingertips, on demand. We are excited to be working with our new partners Telefónica, SingTel and Mozilla, who are driving innovation for consumers.”
“Everything.me represents a significant breakthrough in bringing the power of the web to mobile,” said Carlos Domingo, Director of Product Development & Innovation, Telefónica Digital. “We are committed to driving greater openness in mobile ecosystems which will in turn spur innovation. This is why we are such strong supporters of Firefox OS. The integration of Everything.me into Firefox OS will add a rich and compelling content experience for customers.”
“Everything.me is aligned closely with Mozilla’s mission and goals,” said Jay Sullivan, VP, Products, Mozilla. “Like us, they are committed to using the power of the web to bring the mobile app experience to consumers, regardless of the platform, OS or browser used. We are excited to be working closely together to further the abilities of the HTML5, and to create an outstanding content experience on the Firefox OS.
“We are excited to be a part of the team at Everything.me,” said Jeff Karras, Managing Director, SingTel Innov8. “Everything.me offers a fundamental change to the mobile experience providing access to a broad universe of mobile applications and unlocking the power of HTML5.”
“Everything.me will change the way mobile users access and interact with mobile apps,” said Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Board Member, Everything.me. “Everything.me emerges in the intersection of apps, HTML5 and cloud, to connect people with the information and the functionality they want in a more agile manner. For developers, it provides an open web and multiplatform (HTML5) playground to innovate beyond the limitations of the existing app stores. For users, it brings the right services to them at the right place at the right time. We look forward to the opportunity this latest round of funding provides Everything.me in the future.”
Telefónica Digital<> is a global business division of Telefónica. Its mission is to seize the opportunities within the digital world and deliver new growth for Telefónica through research & development, venture capital, global partnerships and digital services such as cloud computing, mobile advertising, M2M and eHealth. It is also driving innovation in over the top communications under a new umbrella brand called TU and in Big Data through Telefónica Dynamic Insights. Telefónica Digital will deliver these new products and services to Telefónica’s 314 million customers as well as entering new markets. It is headquartered in London with regional centres in Silicon Valley, Sao Paulo, Spain and Tel Aviv. Jajah, TokBox, Terra, Media Networks Latin America, 48 and giffgaff are all managed under the Telefónica Digital umbrella.