Vyng, an LA-based company focused on transforming how conversations start on mobile, announced today it has raised $4 million in a Series A round, led by Omidyar Network India and returning investor March Capital Partners, with participation from Alpha Edison and the Entrepreneur Fund. Vyng’s lockscreen technology surfaces content trapped in a user’s smartphone “app.” The funding will further empower users to start better conversations globally, allowing the company to grow the global team, partner with companies that seek to be more than an app, and continue to develop patents that drive the video content experience on smartphones.
Vyng transforms a user’s caller ID into a video chosen by either the user or the incoming caller. Its technology allows users to create their own video ringtone or caller ID, or choose from a curated library of videos arranged by interest channels. Dedicated to providing an integrated video experience, the company has three current patents for its propriety technology delivering video through calls and contextual texting.
“Vyng brings a powerful video content experience to what was previously an audio-only caller ID, creating a new distribution channel for short-form content owners and a better experience for making and receiving phone calls,” said Paul Kats, CEO and Co-Founder, Vyng. “We’re constantly inundated with notifications and spam we don’t care about – by showing a personalized video on the lockscreen, Vyng is elevating the people and conversations that matter most.”
Mobile notifications, including incoming phone calls, have long been relegated to a generic, sterile design that lacks creativity. Believing in the untapped potential of lockscreens, Vyng facilitates the quickest, most impactful way to communicate through the delivery of a video to the lockscreen of a device. Since Vyng’s launch of Video Ringtones last year, it has served over two billion videos in 170 countries and is driving engagement in regions like South Asia and North Africa where smartphone adoption continues to grow rapidly.
“Vyng has delivered billions of user-friendly video notifications and ringtones across mobile devices and reinforced their leadership in the space with several patents,” said Jim Armstrong, Managing Director, March Capital Partners. “We’ve seen their ability to solve for Android’s fragmentation across the globe, building better notifications across 6,000 Android devices and bringing full-screen video pushed to its users without requiring consistent data.”
Omidyar Network India invests in iconic, innovative emerging technology companies in impactful areas with the potential to achieve massive impact at scale for the lower and lower middle income users in the country.
Siddharth Nautiyal, investment partner, Omidyar Network India added, “For the new wave of mobile internet users in India, whom we refer to as the Next Half Billion, there is an urgent need to reimagine the user journey. Vyng does that by integrating video and social expression to an existing behaviour, the phone call. Our research shows that building locally relevant experiences is key to creating online trust and usage. We believe with its largest customer base already in India, Vyng is redefining engagement on smartphones.”
Vyng’s Paul Kats recently appeared on Entrepreneur’s Elevator Pitch TV show, securing an additional $250K from value-add investors of the Entrepreneur Fund.
Vyng is an LA-based startup that transforms how conversations start on mobile by bringing emotion to the lockscreen. Vyng’s video ringtones app lets users set video channels as their ringtone, playing a fresh video on the lockscreen with every call. Vyng boasts 2 billion videos played across 170 countries since its launch in early 2017. The company is backed by March Capital Partners, Omidyar Network, Alpha Edison and angel investors.
March Capital Partners is a Santa Monica-based venture capital firm with one of the largest global funds in Southern California. Founded by industry veterans with over 50 years of investing experience, March Capital is unique in the Southern California market with its active investments in both early and late-stage companies in mobile, enterprise, infrastructure, gaming and other growth industries. The majority of March Capital’s investments are with Southern California companies, with targeted positions in innovative global organizations.
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to catalyze economic and social change. In India, Omidyar Network focuses on helping the hundreds of millions of Indians in low-income and lower-middle-income populations, which we define as ranging from the poorest among us to the existing middle class by working across multiple areas, including: Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights.