Voxel, which launched Monday at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, Pinnacle Ventures, Sherpalo Ventures and individual investors Sanjay Jha (former Motorola CEO), David Limp (vice president of Kindle at Amazon) and Joyo Wijaya (co-founder of Tandem Ventures). The company was co-founded by Y Combinator alumni David Zhao and Russ d’Sa.
VOXEL ANNOUNCES $1.6 MILLION SEED ROUND LED BY FIRST ROUND CAPITAL
Voxel Platform Virtualizes Apps in the Cloud Where They can Be Streamed in Real-time to Any Device
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—September 9, 2013 – Voxel (www.voxel.com), a platform that virtualizes apps to the cloud where they can be streamed to any device rather than downloaded, today announced it has raised a $1.6 million seed round led by some of the Valley’s premiere Venture Capital firms and leading angel investors.
The company, founded by Y Combinator Alumni David Zhao and Russ d’Sa, said investors include First Round Capital, Pinnacle Ventures, Sherpalo Ventures, former Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, VP, Kindle at Amazon David Limp and Tandem Ventures Co-founder Joyo Wijaya.
“Voxel will revolutionize app discovery and distribution on mobile because it allows an app to perform with all the same features and capabilities of the native app without requiring it to be installed first,” said David Zhao, co-founder and CEO of Voxel. “Just as virtualization brought innovation and new security capabilities to the PC environment, we believe Voxel will offer a similar kind of transformation in mobile.”
All apps streaming from the Voxel platform offer the same features and capabilities on the native device — GPS, accelerometer, and multi-touch. Voxel replicates remotely any of the features or services that would be used in an app on the user’s device so that the app experience is identical.
Voxel’s cloud based virtualization approach has several benefits. Apps are streamed instantly from the cloud since there is no binary to download or install. It is also more secure, as no app or user data is stored on the device. On top of that, hardware and storage requirements are significantly lower when apps are delivered through Voxel.
Voxel arrives at an interesting point in mobile development. Before the smartphone era, mobile apps were designed primarily to run on carrier networks and users interacted with apps by connecting to these networks. But smartphones and the Internet shifted development back to creating native apps that were downloaded and accessed on the device. Voxel will facilitate the shift of app development back to the cloud, where apps can be created once and run on multiple devices without any complicated technical integration of hardware or software.
Today, mobile apps are developed native to the platform or in HTML5. Native apps need to be developed for each operating system the app runs on and then downloaded to a device to be used. HTML5 apps, on the other hand, have suffered from performance issues and often cannot deliver the rich feature set offered by native apps.
The Voxel technology has a myriad of applications, but the first mobile challenge Voxel will take on is improving the effectiveness of mobile app marketing. The company announced today that it will partner with a number of leading ad networks to deliver the first truly interactive mobile app marketing experience that bring true interactive capabilities to mobile app ads for the first time ever.
Currently, mobile users have to endure a seven-step process before they can download an app. About 95 percent of users who click on an ad to download an app, never complete the process. Yet mobile app developers continue to invest heavily in efforts to promote their apps. More than $3 billion will be spent this year marketing apps, and that number continues to grow as Gartner predicts a seven-fold increase in the number of apps downloaded by 2016.
Interactive ads on mobile have seen a significantly higher engagement and conversion rate versus static ads. Traditionally, these ads were expensive to produce. Voxel’s unique ability to virtualize native apps gives developers the ability to turn their existing game or app into an ad in less than a minute. To a user, this means being able to interact with an app without having to first make a commitment to install the app. This experience-first approach could drastically improve conversion rates on app ads while also improving the quality of user engagement in the native app.
Voxel is currently available on the iPhone and iPad. The company expects Android support to be available in the near future.
Voxel (www.voxel.com) is the world’s first app virtualization platform, a breakthrough in the mobile computing environment that will have a profound impact on a number of areas of mobile development and smartphone usage.