Startup Azuki debuts with mobile app platform
Startup Azuki Systems is introducing an interactive mobile media services platform that allows service providers to combine multiple types of media to create applications that can be tailored to individual subscribers.
The resulting applications use browser software already resident on the target devices; subscribers do not have to download anything. MashMedia allows app developers to insert, in real time, targeted ads in any application.
The system, which allows developers to create mash-ups of contextual media (video, audio, photos, RSS), advertising and social media, is called the Azuki MashMedia platform. On a phone conference with CED, Azuki execs sounded genuinely unaware of the pun.
Azuki was originally called Peermeta when it announced receiving $6.6 million in funding last fall. Its founder is Cheng Wu, who also built ArrowPoint (acquired by Cisco for $5.7 billion), Arris Networks (acquired by Cascade Communications for $217 million) and Acopia (acquired by F5 Networks for $210 million).
The idea is to create new applications by combining existing media. Content would be interactive, and of short duration (Azuki uses the term “snackable” a lot), taking advantage of the nature of mobile devices and reflecting actual usage trends.
Azuki President and CEO Jim Ricotta, who previously led both SightPath (acquired by Cisco for $800 million) and DataPower (acquired by IBM for $100 million), explained that one of the biggest barriers to customer adoption of mobile applications is the necessity of downloading an application.
He related the story of one company that told Azuki it had 100 million registered users. This company wrote a Java-based application for mobile device users; only 50,000 users downloaded it.
Automotive Networks, creators of Wheels TV, is a beta customer of the Azuki system. According to Automotive Networks CEO Jim Barisano, “When a mobile user wants to see, learn and share everything about the latest Mustang, BMW or Audi, the interface is easy to use, and they are engaged on our site for significantly longer.”
Ricotta said customer trials would continue throughout the summer, with expanded trials starting in the fall.
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