1. In a world where everyone implicitly assumes “there’s an app for that,” Yo has the potential to be a layer for all the products and services that don’t actually need — and where users don’t want — a dedicated app.
    — More on how we’re thinking about the future of Yo, from betaworks head of investments Matt Hartman.
     


  2. Yo !

    I am excited to announce that betaworks is participating in the seed round of Yo.  I wanted to share a few thoughts on how I see Yo fitting into the ecosystem of services on, and beyond, phones.

    Over the past year, year and a half, we at betaworks have become increasingly interested in the notification layer of the phone.  This is a natural evolution and companion to our work and thinking about homescreens.  It is also a critical part of the emerging mobile ecosystem.  As operating systems are now starting to allow richer interactions via notifications it’s becoming the primary layer of navigation on your phone.  And non-operating system owners — app developers like betaworks — are working on ways to reach our users in more useful and more contextually relevant ways.  

    Over the past year we have seen a handful of apps that function exclusively in the notifications layer — i.e., the content lives in the the notification, the content is the notification.  At the end of May, Matt Hartman invited Or Arbel, the co-founder of Yo, to visit betaworks, and we started using the Yo app.  Since then Yo has become part of our communications flow at betaworks and in my life. We Yo with co-workers alerting them that a meeting is starting, I Yo with my wife as a hi during a busy day.  I Yo with friends, without any more expectation or need than a Yo back.  I get Yo’s from services that I am interested in tracking without having to download their apps.

    We are fascinated by these uses of simple yes/no on/off communications tools.  There is no payload in Yo — no pictures, no text, just a deceptively simple on/off state that over time has the potential to become a platform.  As the notification layer becomes the primary interface of alert-based information on your phone — as the OS’s allow navigation and controls in those alerts — there will emerge a new class of applications that mediate this layer for web sites, other apps and connected hardware.   

    Some examples.  Last week Jake launched the kickstarter for Electric Objects, EO1.  As of today he has close to $500k of pre-orders for the device.  Now, I want a Yo account to change the picture on our EO alpha unit.  We connected Digg and Product Hunt to Yo for fun.  You can try URL schemes on your phone by clicking, if you have Yo installed:

    Yo://PRODUCTHUNTED (alerts you when there are more than 100 votes on a Product Hunt)

    Yo://DIGG (alerts you when there are more than 5,000 Diggs on a story) and this morning I got a Yo card, yo figure.  

    image

    Web sites and services aside, as the number of devices connected to your phone increases, the need for simple, on/off communication with those devices becomes important.  Yo can provide a simple interface for those actions.  A while back betaworks invested in a wonderful company called IFTTT.  At the time it seemed like a simple switching protocol between web API’s; since then Linden and his team have built IFTTT into an amazing platform controlling, managing actions across web, mobile and IOT devices.  Yo’s IFTTT page begins to expose the power of both the switching platform, IFTTT and a simple on/off switch, like Yo.   

    Today Yo has 2,000+ developers who have started working w/ the API and over 2m installs of the app.  It’s a new class of apps as I outline above.  And as always betaworks is excited and ready to take a plunge into a fundamentally new mobile expression and join the seed round of funding in Yo.  

    John B.

     


  3. Betafont

    If you have been following the recent betaworks rebranding efforts, you know that part of the process was creating a new font for our logo. The font is derived from elements of a drawing of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. You can read the full story here.

    Betaworks Logo

    We are very happy to say that this font is now ready and freely available to anyone to use. You can download it here.

    Betafont

    Betafont (bet you didn’t see that name coming!) is available in three weights. We would suggest using the middle weight for larger amounts of copy and the heavier weight for headlines. The thin weight looks very sophisticated - especially when printed - but can come across a little blurred in large scale digital display.

    We hope you find BetaFont useful.

     


  4. (fake) friends with (real) benefits — Gilad Lotan on Social Media

    Gilad Lotan is the Chief Data Scientist here at betaworks and he’s got a penchant for visualizing huge data sets. This week he’s written an op-ed for the LA Times and a blog post at Medium about his experience with buying 4,000 “real” Twitter followers (for science!) and what that means for people and brands involved in social media today (see: EVERYONE).

     


  5. If you’re anything like us, you can’t stop playing TwoDots. Well lucky you, because now you can listen to the soundtrack pretty much everywhere! Jam out and make squares in your mind while you’re doing all of that other annoying real life stuff you have to do.

    Find it on on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify!

     

  6.  

  7. Giphy’s community can now invest in them, thanks to Alphaworks! Read more on the Alphaworks blog.

     


  8. Read more in this deep dive on our brand new logo.

     


  9. Some insight into how the Poncho team is visualizing their data, from the betaworks data blog.

     


  10. Our Investment in Quibb

    Betaworks is excited to announce a new seed investment in Quibb, a company we’ve watched grow for quite some time.  Sandi MacPherson, Quibb’s founder, has built an amazing community of people who share perspective and conversation every day about technology-industry news.

    As part of this investment round, Quibb is using the Alphaworks platform to invite both the Quibb and Betaworks communities to invest alongside the co-sponsors of this deal.  The co-sponsors are Bloomberg Beta and Lightbank.

    At Betaworks, we’re passionate believers in the Alphaworks model to enable businesses to raise capital directly from their communities, allowing users and customers to become owners as well. See.me, the most recent company to fundraise through the Alphaworks platform, has already met and closed its funding goal of $150,000.

    To invest alongside the sponsors, you can reserve an allocation on Alphaworks here.