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June 30, 2009

Is Pelago a Match for Loopt?

Filed under: Start-up Companies Reviews — admin @ 2:06 am

A year after Loopt was founded, a new company which offers services similar to Loopt’s has come out. Introducing Pelago, a company that advertises to remove all barriers to the access of information. Pelago mainly got its fame from its first product, Whrrl, which is a social network that has mixes in Google maps and blogs to create a unique social network that can allow you not only to locate your friends, but also allows you to have your blog as well.

When you open the Pelago homepage, you will not find any kind of sign up application, and unlike with Loopt, you do not need to worry whether you have the right phone and the right carrier. On the other hand, on Pelago’s homepage, you will find all kinds of blogs on Whrrl about different people and on different subjects. For example, the first blog on the website has a picture of a Cesna Airplane and the title reads, “Add Your Whirl Stories to Your Blog.” You can click on the picture and read the blog.

When you click on the photo, you will see the blog and a demo of how Whrrl works. Below the text you will see how the Whrrl widget actually looks like. Whrrl is basically a single story blog widget, which allows you to write a story on your blog and you can also upload photos. Look at the photo featured on the widget with the title “Hop, Skip, and a Jump Fly In,” and then click on the image. When you click on the image, you will go on Pelago’s Whrrl page, where you can either log on or sign in.

Signing up for Whrrl is very easy. You do not need to type in your cellphone number, like you do with Loopt. All you need to do is to type in your email address, your first and last names and a password and reconfirmation of password. Then at the bottom of the application you need to type in two encrypted words. You will then get an instant confirmation email that will ask you to click on a link that will confirm your email and that’s it, you are in.

Once you have logged onto Whrrl, you can send invites, get the Whrrl widget for your blog, and more. The Whrrl widget is a widget that is mainly designed for the iPhone. This widget is free and allows you to send your blogs onto iPhone users that have the Whrrl widget on their iPhone. With the Whrrl widget also allows you to do is to tell your story on the go and you can also use this widget to share your story as well. With Whrrl, you can also send your blog to other phones by sending text SMS messages.

How did Pelago get its name. Pelago got its name because it is actually part of the word “archipelago,” which is a chain of islands. The founders of Pelago came up with this name, because with the aim of what Pelago is doing is to be like a chain of islands. Pelago is not a chain of islands, however, it is a chain of information.

One of Pelago’s cofounders, Jeff Holden is still at the company as its CEO. Mr. Holden founded Pelago in early 2006 to develope unique and creative products that bring online information to the physical world. The first product of Pelago, Whrrl, is the brainchild of Mr. Holden and it was created to get user’s blog information to be off the computer, but also to the mobile phones or devices. The idea of being able to blog on the go, by using your iPhone or other cellphones is truly an innovative idea.

Before Mr. Holden founded Pelago, he worked at Amazon.com, where he held several key positions in the management. Some of the positions that Mr. Holden held at Amazon.com were Director of Supply Chain Optimization, where he led Amazon’s development, inventory, forecasting, ordering and purchasing transactions. Mr. Holden also held the position of Senior Vice President of Consumer Websites, Worldwide at Amazon, where he looked over every aspect of the company’s web design for all of Amazon’s websites globally. Mr. Holden graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BS and an MS in Computer Science.

Pelago’s investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers or KPCB, which invested in the company in series A funding in 2006 together with Trilogy Equity Partners. This round of funding was $7.4 million. KPCB also participated in series B funding together with the T-Mobile Venture Fund, Trilogy Equity Partners, DAG Ventures, and Reliance Technology Ventures for a total of $15 million in 2008.

KPCB is a vc firm with a global presence with offices in the United States and China. KPCB is a vc firm that has a passion for the companies and entrepreneurs it has invested in. Besides gaining the financial support that entrepreneurs need to build their ideas into companies, but also much needed advice as well. The team at KPCB provides all of its portfolio companies with the resources needed to make it all happen. Some other companies in KPCB’s portfolio include 3V Biosciences, 3DV Systems, 3VR Security, 41st Parameter, AeroHive, and others.

Trilogy Equity Partners is a vc firm that has a primary focus on early stage companies. The industries of choice for Trilogy’s investments are the wireless, telecommunications, applications, and infrastructure industries. Trilogy usually joins in funding with other vc firms.

DAG Ventures is a partnership that seeks outstanding entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas to invest in. DAG was founded in 1980, with the advent of Cable Television and it mainly focuses its investments in all sectors of the media, internet and telecommunications industries. Some companies in DAV’s portfolio include 3VR Security, AdBrite, Altra, Arresto, Birst, ClearTrip, BlueLane, and others.

Managed by T-Venture Fund, the T-Mobile Fund is the vc firm of T-Mobile, which is a major mobile service carrier in the United States and is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The T-Mobile Fund mainly invests in companies that are of great interest to T-Mobile or its operations.

Founded in 2006, Reliance Technology Ventures is a vc firm that invests in companies which are in all sectors of the wireless, internet, and tech industries. Some other companies in Reliance’s portfolio include Dhama, Vanco, WaveWorld, Stoke, Eband Communications, Yatra.com, and others.

Pelago’s main competitor is Loopt, which is a company that provides cellphone users the ability to turn their cellphones into social compasses and allows users to find their friends locations with the use of Google maps. The difference with Loopt and Pelago is that Loopt requires you to have a cell phone and a carrier together with a cellphone service that supports Loopt. Pelago allows you to blog online from your computer and you do not need to have a certain cellphone or carrier for Pelago. Furthermore, like Loopt, Pelago also has an iPhone app which is for free and is available through the iPhone App Store.

For more information about Pelago, click here.

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