Portland’s OnTheGo Platforms today announced that it has raised a $700,000 seed round from SK Ventures, Rogue Venture Partners, Social Leverage, Portland Seed Fund and GMO Cloud. Also included in this round is a $330,000 commitment from Foundry Group‘s FG Angels AngelList Syndicate, which marks the first investment by the firm’s Syndicate fund on AngelList .
According to Foundry Group’s managing director Brad Feld, the firm has committed $2.5 million to make around 50 investments in companies listed on AngelList between now and the end of 2014. “Over the years, we’ve had many entrepreneurs ask if they can invest alongside us. We’ve never had a side fund – this is our first experiment with it,” Feld said in a statement about today’s investment. FG Angel actually committed to the investment 60 days ago, but it took a while to “work through all the AngelList process dynamics, legal docs, and Syndicate formation dynamics.”
OnTheGo believes the current smart glasses experience on devices like Google Glass is fundamentally broken. Users shouldn’t have to use a touchpad to interact with the device. Instead, OnTheGo’s vision, as it’s CEO Ryan Fink explained today, is to use the glasses’ front-facing camera to recognize gestures so people can “interact naturally with smart glasses.” Using a swipe of their hand, users would be able to bring up apps and then share photos or videos with another swipe gesture.
Why exactly making random gestures in the air with your hands would be preferable to the relatively discreet movements it takes to use the touchpad on Google Glass remains to be seen, however.
One thing that makes OnTheGo’s strategy different from that of similar companies is that it is targeting OEMs as part of a long-term licensing strategy. The company says it is already working with “several top smart glasses OEMs.”
The company’s current showcase Application is a training tool for runners called Ghost Runner (see video above). Similar to some racing games, the application displays a “ghost” who runs along you to challenge you to run faster. The application is meant to run on Vusix’ smart glasses platform.