A startup building a live broadcasting service for mobile users, previously known as Yevvo, which has raised close to $4 million in Series A funding, an SEC filing shows and the company confirms, is now becoming “Air.” Launched in mid-2013, Yevvo’s first app was designed to offer users a way to tweet a link to their live video stream that was push-button simple to use. The company has since pulled the Yevvo app from the App Store and has replaced it with its next-generation service called, still in private beta.
Users were informed of the change last month via an email that explained how the company had been working on the updated app Air over the past 8 months. Read the email, in part:
“We’ve taken the parts of Yevvo you loved the most, and focused just on those. Air is all about you. It’s all about sharing your experiences with your best friends, from anywhere.
Since our launch last year, you’ve taught us a lot about what creates a meaningful lifestreaming experience. This is what Air is all about. We’ve also made Air an invite-only community, to make sure that everyone has a friend from the start. You can read more about why we chose to make Air invite-only here.”
Co-founder and CEO Ben Rubin confirmed the fundraise, which was led by Israeli VC Aleph with participation from Ooga Labs and other San Francisco-area angel investors. The funding actually took place 10 months ago, but the SEC filing just popped up.
The new application, which is still in an experimental phase and may change in time, also focuses on streaming live video as Yevvo did before, the app store description indicates. Friends can only join a stream while it’s live in Air, as there are no replays. With a button press, a user begins recording and then Air will notify friends that you’re live. During the stream, friends can post comments and you can chat with them in return.
While there isn’t a way to re-watch a stream, which gives Air somewhat of a Snapchat-like “ephemeral” quality, the app does allow you to capture images during a stream in order to create a “Flashback” for friends to view later.
Another feature called “Encore” allows you to tell a friend that you want to see them go live again.[gallery ids="1108314,1108313,1108312"]
The difference between Air and the earlier app Yevvo seems to be more about the audience for the streams you create using the service. From the way the company describes its product on its blog, Air is more focused on sharing with close friends – that is, a social app you use privately – while Yevvo was used more publicly, like to promote your live streams to Twitter followers.
Writes the company,
We created Air for you to stream live video to people that you actually care about. We want you to know the people that you’re watching and streaming to. Live video is as unpredictable and honest as it gets, and we believe that it’s important to experience Air with friends that you know from the real world.
Air today also has simplified feature set when compared with Yevvo, as far as we can tell from screenshots, no longer showcasing “featured streams” from other users, for example. From the looks of the app, the company wants to be more aligned with mobile messaging apps going forward.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that while somewhat differentiated from others, Air will still have to take on a market leader in this broader space. Snapchat has also ventured into “live” content with its real-time video chat features and addition of “Our Story” in recent months. It also bought up a service called AddLive for $30 million ($10m cash/$20m stock) to help it power its video offerings.
The Air app, which is only open to private beta testers at this time, is live on iTunes here.
Note: Article updated to clarify the timing of the fundraise, which was for Yevvo before its new pivot to Air.