Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble. Heckerty is here!

Broomstick Productions is Archimedes Labs latest portfolio company to launch into the world. Jan Ziff and Allan Davidson have a very special person in their life – Jan’s Mom. Or, because – like myself – Jan is from Yorkshire in the North of England, I should say Jan’s Mum…..

 

Jan’s Mum had the very special privilege of telling stories to the children of Prince Charles, either the future King of England or at the very least the father of the future King of England.

During her stint at that very unusual job she developed the character of Heckerty(TM) the Witch and her trusted sidekick, Zanzibar(TM) the cat. These stories have never been published before, and certainly never been animated. As Jan herself says:

 

When Princess Diana wanted to send her sons, Princes William and Harry, to weekly musical storytelling sessions as part of their education (click the links to see rare photos of the young princes), she chose my mother, Ann Rachlin.So when my mom asked Allan and me whether we were interested in bringing one of her favorite story characters to mobile devices, we jumped at the chance!
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Bringing Heckerty’s gentle, zany adventures to life for kids around the world was just too good to pass up! I had grown up with Heckerty’s magic and we both loved my mother’s many CDs and books (iTunesAmazon).

Today, they are available on the iPad, iPhone and on the Kindle Fire.

Meet Heckerty is the first of many stories to come and we feel sure that, Hollywood will soon be knocking on the door of Broomstick Productions seeking to take these adorable characters and stories to the big screen

Blurtt launches in the app store

I first met Jeanette Cajide early in 2011. She was a founder at Blurtt – a company that was then focused on delivering a web based photo-upload service, permitting users to send printed postcards of said photos to friends via mail.

A few things were quickly obvious.

 

1. Blurtt is a great name, but not for sending postcards.

2. Mobile is the right place to develop what Blurtt could be.

3. Blurtt should let people Blurtt things out…..

4. Combining images with text produces a very powerful means of communicating emotion-rich messages.

5. Jeanette is a force of nature and simply refuses to fail.

 

So, Blurtt became archimedes labs second acceleration company, after Tomer Kagan’s Quixey. The 12 months since have been great. Jeanette weathered many storms, and succeeded in building a set of relationships that allowed her to ship her product today, with significantly less than $100,000 spent. You can get it from the app store now.

I couldn’t be more thrilled for Jeanette, Laura, Kuba and the team at Dialexa in Texas…..Congrats

I know that the team is planning lots of new features. Can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

 

 

 

Archimedes Labs opens for business

Palo Alto, CA, 12 December 2011

Today is an exciting day at Archimedes Ventures. We have some announcements to make.

Firstly, going forward we will be known as Archimedes Labs LLC. This is to make clear that we are an incubator, not a venture capital company.

Secondly, we can now announce that in August this year I established a managing entity – Escondido Labs LLC. It has been the sole manager of Archimedes since that time.

Thirdly, we can reveal that in the future investors will be added at Archimedes Labs as partners in the entity.

Finally we are announcing the following members (aside from myself) at Escondido Management LLC:

Kambiz Hooshmand – Former senior executive at Stratacom which Cisco acquired for over $4 billion in 1996; Cisco SVP; and CEO at Applied Micro (AMCC), Kambiz is now CEO and a General Partner at Escondido Management and runs the management of Archimedes Labs.

Patrick Gannon, a founder at Lending Club, Patrick is Chief Investment Officer at Escondido Management.

Kevin Doerr, VP and Chief of Staff (Products) at Yahoo.

Matt Kaufman, VP Product and Engineering at Oodle.

Bess Ho – Mobile Architect, Lecturer & Book Author.

See the team page for more details.

In the first 11 months of 2011 we have incubated just.me, entered into an acceleration agreement as a co-founder at Blurtt and invested in Quixey, Incident Technologies and Broomstick Productions.

In 2012 we intend to do more incubations and accelerations.

Happy Holidays to all….

Quixey Raises $3.8m from USVP and WI Harper

From TechCrunch:

Quixey, the Palo Alto-based startup that’s building a functional search engine for apps, today announced that it has closed a $3.8 million series A funding round. The investment was led by U.S. Venture Partners and WI Harper Group, with participation from Webb Investment Network alongside follow-on investment by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. The series A round adds to the $400K Quixey raised in April from Innovation Endeavors, bringing total investment to $4.2 million.

We’ve all heard (and perhaps even mocked) the quip “there’s an app for that”. It’s actually a wonderful quality of the mobile revolution: There really is an app for just about everything you can think of, from calling a taxi to managing your schedule to scanning for skin cancer or heart murmors. But, it’s also overwhelming, and searching for the app that you want isn’t easy. There’s a lot of noise, and a lot of imperfect approaches to app search.

Quixey entered the game with the intention to build a new type of search, molded specifically to the unique characteristics of searching for those ubiquitous but sometimes elusive apps. Their solution, coined “functional search”, which not only scans the major app stores, but crawls blogs, review sites, forums, and social media sites to build a truly comprehensive picture of what an app can do — through reviews, word of mouth, and demos.

Quixey’s search engine lets the user type in queries like “baseball scores”, and get a list of applications that provide just that (which they can then can filter by platform). And the best part is that the search engine suppors Windows and Mac apps, iGoogle, extensions, and more. It’s not just iOS and Android.

Though Quixey would seem to be competing with the likes of Chomp and others, the startup also has the added value proposition of being able to power search for other app stores, search engines, and websites — just like Google — to help disseminate its search engine on third party sites across the Web.

Not so surprising, then, that Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors is investing in a great app search tool. Bringing in outside info and data from blogs, review sites, and beyond, really adds an extra layer of depth to app search (especially in being platform agnostic), just as powering search across websites gives Quixey the opportunity to scale and become mixed in with the very sites it crawls. The startup will be using its new investment to continue securing partnerships with app stores and other big third party app resources, and according to the Quixey team, there are more than 25 potential partnerships in the pipeline. The more partners, the more effective the search engine becomes.

It’s an interesting new approach, this “functional search”, and from my experience thus far, works as advertised. Chime in to let us know what you think. More on Quixey here.

just.me closes $550k in seed funding

We are happy to announce that just.me, Archimedes Labs first incubated company, has graduated to independent status. Keith Teare will become CEO of just.me. The investor list is an all star cast – True Ventures, Google Ventures, SV Angel; Betaworks; Crunchfund; Don Dodge; Patrick Gannon; Michael Parekh; Steve McArthur and The Four Horsemen LLC.

 

As TechCrunch said

just.me…..is focused on the post-PC social network.

just.me will launch in 2012

Quixey closes seed round – led by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors.

Quixey announced today that we have joined Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors in seed-funding the company.

Quixey enables searches for apps capable of delivering a specific use case. For example a search for an app that can “Annotate PDFs” returns results as below:

Quixey search result

We are honored to be part of the team and look forward to Quixey fulfilling its potential to be the key search technology driving app discovery across many platforms.

Sign up for the beta here
TechCrunch story here
GigaOm story here.

This is our first investment since the sale of TechCrunch. See the Team page for more.

The Founders Couch

All founders need a shrink… I know, I have been a founder many times and it doesn’t get any easier to figure out who is blowing smoke and who is giving sound advice….And even though you are Superman to your team, you know you are mortal.

So… in the past few weeks I have started offering up an event called “The Founders Couch”. It has proven to be wildly popular, and the best thing, if we agree to do it, it is free.

What is the Founders Couch? Well, it depends. For some it is a mentoring session, 1 on 1, with the founder and myself. For others it has involved bringing in the whole team. It focuses on your core issues around your company or your product. Those can be funding strategy, partnerships, technical issues, design issues, features, virality, market focus or anything else, so long as they are your core issues.

If you are interested ping me on email.

edgeio launches at PC Forum

Although there has been significant discussion on the web about edgeio for several weeks, the company had not formally launched until today. edgeio has formally launched the company at PC Forum in Carlsbad. There is a post on the edgeio blog with a 2 minute video clip of the infomercial that preceeded the formal presentations.The company announced $1.5m in angel funding, led by Ron Conway and including investments from:

Dan Burstein of Millenium Technology Ventures
Frank Caufield Jr. of Darwin Ventures
Jeff Clavier of Softtech VC
Ron Conway
Auren Hoffman
Localglobe II
Louis Monier
Sam Perry
RSS Investors
Michael Tanne
Transcosmos Inc.

… and others not disclosed.

This is the first Archimedes company to secure funding. I (Keith Teare) will be serving as CEO of edgeio and will be discontinuing active work with Archimedes for the time being. I’m thrilled by the challenge of taking edgeio from an idea I had in late 2004, through to a funded company and a launched platform. Many thanks to all those who have helped, but especially to:

Mike Arrington
Matt Kaufman
Vidar Hokstad
Fred Olivera
The VeriSign “real time web” team
Jeremy Zawodny
Jim Piktow
Dave Winer, Dave Sifry, Scott Rafer, Bob Wyman, Salim Ismail, David Hornik, Louis Monier (all of whom saw the early prototype almost a year ago). And the investors who have shown confidence in me and the team.