Neumob is a mobile app for Android (Android 4.0+, with iOS coming later), that promises to speed up all of your other mobile apps and browsers through a combination of its mobile app, VPN service and application delivery network. The company today announced that it has raised a $2.3 million seed round from a number of top investors, including Accel Partners, Shasta Ventures, Menlo Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures.
At first, the idea behind Neumob may sound familiar, especially if you’ve ever used Opera Max or a similar service that focuses on compressing images and other files to speed up your browsing. Neumob takes a slightly different approach and focuses more on saving time than bandwidth.
As Neumob CEO Jeff Kim tells me, the magic is in the software that’s running on the device in combination with the company’s cloud network. Because mobile apps already tend to do a lot of caching themselves, the company isn’t focusing on front-end optimizations for now (unlike the likes of Instart Logic, for example). Instead, it uses mobile WAN acceleration for dynamic API calls (similar to what Riverbed does for the enterprise). Kim also tells me that the service uses “a UDP-variant to maximize throughput for last-mile and middle-mile specialized routing.”
New users get three free gigabytes of acceleration. After that, they either have to buy more through in-app purchases or by getting their friends to sign up for the service.
I’m typically rather skeptical of these kinds of services. The Play Store, after all, is full of “booster” apps that promise to make your phone faster and your battery last longer. Only a few of them actually do anything besides show you ads. Neumob clearly doesn’t fall into this category.
After I used it for a few hours, the service tells me that it sped up my connections by about 35 percent on average and some apps did indeed feel a bit snappier. But others, like the NYTimes, Redfin and Twitter, had issues with loading images and new content when the service was turned on.
The company’s founding team has a deep background in working on networks and CDNs in particular, with experience at Akamai, Cisco and CDNetworks. The company was founded in 2014 and its Android app quietly hit the Play Store last month.
While the acceleration service is at the core of the app, Neumob also offers a number of other tools. Just like with most VPN services, you can use Neumob to circumvent location-based restrictions, for example, so you can watch Netflix no matter what country you’re in. But you can also pretend you’re in China, Japan, Brazil or Germany, for example.
In addition, Neumob also offers an encryption tool. While this will slow down your connection, it will make sure that nobody can easily eavesdrop on your mobile traffic (at least up to the point where it hits Neumob’s servers).
As with all of these services, there is a risk that Neumob will collect a lot of personal data from its users. The company, however, says that it takes its customers’ privacy seriously and only keeps aggregated and anonymized data.
“The less user data we store, the better it is to maintain user privacy,” the company says. “Your data will be collected or utilized only to the extent necessary to perform our services or if you have given us your consent beforehand.”