November 29, 2012

Telefonica Invests $25M in Mobile Search App for Native and HTML5 may seem like an app dedicated to narcissists, but in reality it is a new, slick mobile search app that lets users search for specific content across all types of apps, be they native or mobile.

The company announced this week that it has received an investment from Telefonica Digital, to the tune of $25 million. The investment has been offered with participation from Mozilla (NewsAlert), Singtel, and other existing investors.

The list includes BRM Group, Draper Fisher Jurveston, and Horizon Ventures, and the price of the offering suggests a vote of great confidence for the app.

Native apps have been stealing the show recently in terms of usage and functionality on mobile devices, so apps like are becoming popular, as it can straddle the two worlds–mobile and native–despite doubts about HTML5-based mobile Web services.

So far, has been able to raise $35.5 million for their app, and the way in which they are directing the money is strategic, and should prove beneficial to the company.

Receiving investments from Telefonica (News Alert), Mozilla, and Singtel means that those mobile companies might include in their lineup of mobile services at some point down the road.

For now, though, the app has to prove itself worthy of the money it’s been given.

Mozilla is actually using the app in its Firefox mobile platform currently, which is now in development, so’s future is already looking bright.

Jay Sullivan (NewsAlert), VP of product for Mozilla, commented on the app and the company’s decision to become involved: “We’ve been watching for a while and we thought they were closely aligned with our goals, both on how to present mobile experiences and to move HTML5 forward.”

Mozilla’s interests in come from the app’s visual, button-style approach to searching, which makes it stand out from competitors like Android, iOS, and Windows Phone (NewsAlert).

“We see this as product-driven and very exciting,” said Sullivan.

Telefonica also has plans to implement’s service on their devices, which accounts for its recent substantial investment in the company.

“As the next generation of smartphone users come on board, they will be less sophisticated, so you need to start making the experience much more intuitive and seamless,” explained Tracy Isacke, director of investments at Telefonica Digital.

As for why Telefonica decided to co-invest with Mozilla on, Isacke explained the decision: “We were working together strategically on the open web device; we weren’t looking to make investment decisions together. But we thought this would be conducive to the aims and ambitions that we had. Independently we also see this strong strategic relationship as important to our business.”’s co-founder Ami Ben David commented on the inspiration for the app, saying “We are seeing the lines are blurring. You start with mobile phones but with platforms like Windows 8 you can see it’s becoming a blur. Everything that we are doing is for more openness of the web, to be able to deliver dynamically rather than just stuck with what [native apps] you have installed.”

Things are looking good for the app, and if Telefonica’s investment is any indication, the company’s idea will catch on and flourish.

Telefonica will be a Diamond sponsor of ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.

Edited by Brooke Neuman


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