The founders of startup N3twork, which officially launched on Wednesday night, say they’re trying to do no less than reinvent the way that people consume web content on their devices. The problem is that it’s pretty hard to judge just how revolutionary that type of simple-sounding app could be without seeing the product in action — the actual app comes out later this year.
But what we do know about N3twork is that the company was founded just five months ago by a group from mobile gaming company ngmoco (which was sold to Japanese giant DNA for $400 million), and is backed with a new Series A round of $12 million from Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and Floodgate. Kleiner’s Bing Gordan and Floodgates Mike Maples led their firms’ investments.
N3twork CEO Neil Young (not that one) told me in an interview on Wednesday that the app will allow a user to access content and information based on their interests and it can used across mobile devices. It’s an “interest-centric network,” said Young, explaining “we want to deconstruct the web and reorganize it and present it around interests.”
For example, Young said as he and his wife were watching the coverage of the election, he realized that they had dozens of browsers and clients open across platforms — from news to social media to YouTube videos — which created a disparate and convoluted experience. He thought, what if I could have one location for all of that content and information that I could access wherever I go? The answer, to Young and his former execs at ngmoco, was to start the new venture that launched as N3twork.
While it’s all very vague, Young explained at least some of the logistics to me. The redesigned information experience will be accessed via an app and connected to cloud services, and the app would learn its user’s interests as they engage with it. With a background in mobile game development, Young said that the team has amassed a lot of expertise and competency in the idea of capturing information in the wake of user engagement. As people play games — or in the case of N3twork — use the app, it can be finely tuned to change the engagement with the user, said Young.
Will it look like like Circa, Flipboard, a new type of mobile search, or something else entirely? We’ll just have to wait for a few months to see if the app lives up to expectations, and the initial investment.
Other former members of the ngmoco team that have joined N3twork include co-founder Bob Stevenson, Alan Yu, and Stephen Detwiler. N3twork has also brought on Erik Lammerding, who spent a decade at Apple and will head up N3twork’s platform strategy. Lammerding mentioned the company’s launch on stage at Le Web in London on Wednesday.