Burbn, a stealthy startup that brings mobile location check-in gameplay (à la Foursquare and Gowalla) to the mobile browser, has raised $500,000 from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Burbn founder Kevin Systrom confirmed the round to us after it was written up in TechCrunch this afternoon.
Burbn is a nifty little HTML 5 mobile web app that offers yet another place to tell your friends where you’re grabbing a coffee or seeing a concert. But what’s cool is how it runs through a mobile browser without losing much of the experience afforded to native iPhone and Android apps. Burbn loads quickly and pulls in GPS information through the browser just like an app. The only material difference is it sends text message alerts rather than push notifications. That mobile web app experience is rather compelling given Apple’s tight grip around its App Store and Android’s increasingly splintered implementations across different phones. In many cases it would be nicer to have one web app that just works everywhere.
We don’t know what Burbn’s broader plans are, but we do know how hot HTML 5 apps and location-based social tools are these days. The fact that Systrom was able to raise the round in the short time since he left a product management role at Nextstop earlier this year (before that he was at Google) is proof enough.
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