A number of mobile-related bits of funding news came up this morning, so we put them together in a round-up. Like we’re seeing on the mobile gaming side, venture financing for consumer mobile communication and sharing apps is becoming expensive. Flipboard, for one, is looking for a $200 million valuation despite the fact that it hasn’t turned on revenue yet.
Yobongo: Color us skeptical on this one. But Yobongo, an iOS chat app that connects strangers in local areas, raised $1.35 million from investors including Mitch Kapor, Dave Morin, Kevin Rose, Gary Vaynerchuk, Karl Jacob, Bill Roux and Shervin Pishevar. True Ventures and Freestyle Capital also came in.
Although the company told The Wall Street Journal that “tens of thousands” of people have downloaded the app and that five thousand have come back to it in the last week, its daily active use, as reflected on Facebook, has been steadily declining to less than 20 on AppData, our data service tracking the top web and mobile applications that integrate with Facebook. Yobongo has a very prominent Facebook integration with single sign-on visibly placed on the homescreen, so Facebook should probably be reflective of one-tenth to one-third of total active usage. Its iOS ranking has been dipping too; it’s at 343 in the social networking category, down from 142 a week ago. Logging into the app feels a bit bare with only between two and 10 people around, but this appears to be by design because Yobongo parcels out users to different chat rooms.
Flipboard: This rumored funding round is pricey, but at least the product has serious traction. AllThingsD reported that this social magazine for the iPad is close to completing a round at a $200 million valuation. Flipboard is still pre-revenue but it is consistently the top 2nd or 3rd news app and has been hovering between #10 and #30 on the overall iPad ranking. On Facebook, we can see 247,929 daily active users and 746,528 monthly actives via AppData — both of which are very impressive numbers for a mobile app on the Facebook platform. (The spike on the chart coincides with a recent update that brought social search, the ability to search across a user’s social networks and blogs.)
If Flipboard goes through with the round, it will need to deliver a lucrative brand advertising product for tablets or get acquired by a deep-pocketed media company desperate to make it on mobile devices.
Offline Labs: While this San Francisco startup made up of former Slide employees has yet to launch, we hear its product will have a mobile component. Called Sōsh, the product will have exclusive local deals and events and will be about changing the way people share experiences and things to do. Events is a notoriously difficult space for online consumer startups to build a lucrative business, but Sequoia Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Polaris Ventures, General Catalyst Partners along with Keith Rabois and Naval Ravikant have invested.