A new startup called Yap.tv aims to enter the social TV space with a group of mobile apps focused on building conversations around television programs. The company, which raised a round of funding in June, is set to release its first app for the iPad later this month.
Yap.tv aims to take a different approach than other social TV apps — such as Miso, Philo and Tunerfish — going beyond the simple Foursquare-like game mechanics and rewards that other apps provide when a user “checks in” to a particular program. Instead, Yap.tv seeks to foster actual conversations between viewers, with a built-in Twitter client and Facebook connectivity to build social connections. In addition to its Twitter feed, which allows fans to interact in real-time while their shows are on air, the app also includes an electronic programming guide that streams tweets about different programs automatically.
Yap.tv, which was founded by executives from Jacent and iCommerce, closed a venture round in June 2010 for an undisclosed amount. Seed investors include Javelin Venture Partners and Blumberg Capital, along with angel investments from former Apple exec David Austin and Band of Angels managing director Ian Sobieski, representing the Acord Fund.
The company’s three founders include former Jacent and iCommerce CEO Trevor Stout, who takes the chief executive role on this venture, and Shawn Cunningham, who was VP of marketing at those companies and has taken the title of chief marketing officer. Marius Seritan, software engineer and CEO behind De-co-de Software, is also on board as Yap.tv’s CTO. Company advisors include Austin and Apple founder Steve Wozniak.
While Yap.tv is trying to differentiate itself from the other TV apps already out there, it’s entering a pretty crowded space, with entries from startups such as Philo and Bazaar Labs (behind the Miso app), as well as industry heavyweights such as Comcast and CBS.
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