French startup Snips just raised $6.3 million (€5.6 million) in a seed round led by The Hive, with participation from Eniac Ventures, 500 startups, Brent Hoberman, Xavier Niel and Bpifrance. The company wants to add some sort of artificial intelligence layer on top of your smartphone so that you can use your phone more efficiently.
In pragmatical terms, Snips will release in the near future a new Android home screen as well as an iPhone app so that it can show you relevant information and apps when and where you need them. In many ways, this pitch is very reminiscent of smart Android home screen startups, such as EverythingMe. The iOS app might just be an intelligent app launcher.
Snips has been around for a while, focusing on smart data analysis with a lot of data scientists and PhDs working for the company. The team didn’t have a product or business model in mind. It experimented for a while, launching projects around smart cities, such as Tranquilien, a service that predicts how busy your train is going to be, or a smart empty parking spot prediction service.
Now, the company is focused on this idea that you can add an artificial intelligence layer to all of your devices, starting with your phones. By gathering as much data as possible, such as location data and calendar data, the company can show you what you need. For example, if you’re at the end of a meeting and look at your phone, Snips could suggest you to launch Citymapper with your next meeting’s location already predefined thanks to deep-linking.
Snips will face tough competition from both Apple and Google as iOS 9 will suggest apps depending on what you are doing and provide a universal search feature with deep-linked results. Google and the Android team have also been working on Google Now for a while, and it’s pretty clear that Google is serious about making your smartphone smarter. It’s a tough industry.