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Posts from the ‘Summify News’ Category

Summify Heads to Launch@Grow: Grow Conference 2011

The Grow Conference is a unique three-day conference that brings together the top minds in business, entrepreneurship, technology, and capital to inspire and engage the next generation of disruptive entrepreneurs. Startups from all over the map have been eagerly awaiting the results of the Launch@GROW Contest: the opportunity for 15 top startups to show-off at the Opening Reception to the 2011 Grow Conference in Vancouver, BC.

61 startups from across Canada entered the Launch@Grow contest and public voting ended July 16. The top 25 leaders who rocked the most votes moved on to the semi-finals where they have been picked apart by Canadian and Silicon Valley judges.

With only 15 days left until The Launch@GROW Launch Party the results are in. The top 15 startups walking down the entrepreneurial red carpet (there’s less botox) are:

ToggleMe with Tradable Bits
Warranty Life

Techvibes will be highlighting these companies over the next two weeks with startup profiles. Vancouver’s Unbounce led during public voting, so Techvibes jumped the gun yesterday with the first of their 15 startup profiles.

Congratulations to all of our fellow startups! It’s GROW time.

Team Summify Expands

For some of us, nothing beats the atmosphere of energy and learning offered by an early stage start-up. With the recent launch of the iPhone app and many more releases on the way, it’s an exciting time at Summify, so exciting that we almost forgot to introduce ourselves!

Although we’re from entirely different backgrounds, the common thread that brought us all together was the opportunity to join two uber cool founders at ground level as they build an internet company. There’s something about the unknown, the chance to make a difference, or is it just the free lunch? Either way, we’re amped to be a part of a team we believe in. Here we are: the new kids on the block.

Mark Chua – Software Engineer
Joining us back in April, Mark has a degree in Computer Science from SFU and China’s Zhejiang University. Outside of the office he enjoys origami and playing badminton. We had him at “free lunch.”

Nimalan Mahendran – Software Engineer
It was a natural celebration when Nimalan joined us on the 4 of July. We may not be Americans, but who doesn’t like fireworks? Previously, Nimalan worked at SAP and graduated from UBC with a MSc in Machine Learning, as well as a BMath in Computer Science from Waterloo. You may find him distance running in home-made sandals or planning a trip to Antarctica to visit penguins. We’ll remind him to take a plane.

Robin Campbell – Community Guy
In a room full of hackers, Robin is the odd guy out. Prior to joining the Summify family in June, Robin was building the Canadian breakdance community through, organizing international events and managing online content. Graduating with a BCom in Entrepreneurship, he plans to shake things up a little. Office bootcamps, West Coast adventures and salsa lessons are not out of the question. He recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of his breakdance crew, Filthee Feet.

Less Stories, More Funding!

The last few months at Summify have been really groundbreaking and we wanted to share some of the exciting updates with you!

More Funding

We have raised a seed round from a great group of investors and here is the full list is in no particular order:

It wasn’t that long ago that we were back in Romania dreaming of startup ideas and hoping someday we’d get to work with such great industry leaders. It’s truly amazing to us how far we’ve come. While the investment will help Summify accelerate its growth, the experience our investors bring to the table is even more important to us. 

By the way, did we mention we’re hiring?

Less Stories

Like just about everybody we know, we’ve been struggling to keep up with the avalanche of updates coming at us in the news, on Facebook, Twitter and RSS. It’s amazing that people have just sort of gotten used to so much noise and so little signal. It’s impossible to keep up and it’s only getting worse! 

We first thought the solution was to build a better social news reader, so we did that. After we released it, we realized that we had built the wrong thing. Our users didn’t really want another news reader, another destination site to check every day… they just wanted the serendipity offered by our results!

The nature of social media is such that even the most devoted users miss more than half of what comes at them, so we established the idea that you can’t and shouldn’t read everything – read just the good stuff! It stands to reason that the good stuff is usually what your friends and your sources are talking about the most.

We rebuilt Summify by mixing these two ideas together and we think we have hit on something magical. With Summify, you can know what’s going on by just looking at an intelligent summary of the news, only 5 to 10 stories, every few hours!

Obviously, we had to put a lot effort in making sure it doesn’t become a popularity contest, and we think we’ve struck the right balance of highly relevant and diverse stories. Sign up, check it out and please tell us what you think!

Tech entrepreneurs stuck in immigration limbo

Tech entrepreneurs stuck in immigration limbo

Mr. Wertz said it was his experience trying to invest in a group of entrepreneurs from Romania that convinced him the system was broken. He describes them as brilliant. They had worked for Google and Facebook and were keen on Vancouver for its proximity to Silicon Valley and its environment and quality of life.

“We had tons of trouble getting them a visa to stay here,” he said. “It has been an ongoing saga. People were spending probably 20 per cent of their time on immigration visa issues while they could have been building a company.”

Hold on, Summify is back!

A lot of people have been asking us what have we been up to here in Vancouver in the past couple of months. Well, we’ve been really busy building our new product – a Social News Reader – and we’re finally ready to share it with the world!

As of today we’re starting to send out invites to people who have subscribed on our invite list (it’s on the home page). We’re going to roll them out in small batches so that we can test our system, so it’s probably going to take a couple of weeks for us to go through all of them. If you signed up for an invite you will receive one soon, just have patience.  

So, what’s a Social News Reader?

People are increasingly getting their news from the social networks they’re part of (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but this is rapidly getting overwhelming. If you’re connected with a few hundred people and companies, it’s hard to stay on top of the news they share. There’s currently no way to get the important stuff without going through all your news.

Summify gives you a river of news in a way that you can consume it in minutes, rather than hours. The important stuff bubbles up at the top so, however much time you have at your disposal, you always know you’re reading the important stuff first. 

 It’s a HTML5 web app (only modern browsers supported, sorry!). It aggregates all your incoming news from your Twitter and Google Reader account (Facebook and Google Buzz support on the way!). It then curates your news feed by using the social reactions gathered from your networks. The important news makes it to the Top News section. There’s also a Recent News section that allows you to see everything in chronological order.  

I tell you, it’s awesome! (for a product in private beta)

Isn’t RSS dead? Isn’t the news industry dying?

While RSS has been declared dead and the news industry is slowly dying, that doesn’t mean that people have stopped reading their news. On the contrary, people are getting more and more news and they can’t really keep up with it. We know the road to solving personalized news is paved with dead startups, but we believe that by capitalizing on some new trends in the industry (people are using their social network to curate their news, mobile smartphones and touchpads enable you to read stuff anywhere) we have a really good chance of solving this problem!

Private beta again?

Some of you might remember that we started out at Bootup Labs in January with a very different product. One of the benefits of being in an incubator is that you can quickly get feedback, learn from it and iterate – and that’s just what we did. We realized our product wasn’t differentiated enough and it wasn’t what the publisher market wanted – we had a really good solution for the wrong problem. :)

Thanks to good mentorship and advice we looked at what we’re passionate (hint: we’re huge news junkies!) and we took all the lessons we learned from the previous product and applied them here. Only time will tell if this was the right move, but we’re much more confident about this new product!

I guess you can call this change a “pivot”, apparently it’s all the rage right now in the startup world! 

We love feedback! Give Summify a try once you receive your invite and let us know what you think!

Distributed CEO

Distributed CEO

My 3 weeks of being CEO will expire on Monday and I will pass the CEO hat to Mircea. It’s been a crazy and fun period for us! I had the chance to manage one “intimate” beta launch and one private beta launch. It all ended up with an awesome private beta party this Friday — 55 beers and 1…

ReadFu becomes Summify

During the past few weeks we’ve been working very hard (13+ hours / day) to get our private beta out and we’re getting really close! 

Right now we’re in “intimate beta” mode. A few of our friends from Bootup Labs were crazy enough to test Summify on their blogs. Check it out (it should work from an iPhone too):

Oh, wait! What’s Summify? Well, Summify is the new ReadFu! Ever since we started pitching ReadFu to people we’ve soon noticed a few issues with that name:

  • People find it hard to understand. We were asked quite a few times how exactly do you spell it and it was always funny to say “It’s Read + Fu, like in Kung Fu”.
  • It’s deceiving. Our name is composed from a common word and something ambiguous. People get the impression that it’s descriptive (because of “read”) when it’s actually not.
  • Kung Fu theming was too edgy. There was no connection between us and Kung Fu.

So we decided to look for a better name. Luckily people around us were very supportive. We received a lot of great suggestions from Patrick, Jamie, NoahDaniel and others. We eventually picked Summify, which we believe fits perfectly in our pitch.

There is some hassle doing a renaming though:

  • Facebook doesn’t allow you to rename your fan page so we have to start over. Please make sure to become of fan of Summify on Facebook so that we can get a proper vanity URL (you have to get 100 Fans to do that).
  • We have to move our email and docs to the new domain. Our emails don’t work yet but we’ll have them up until next week.
  • We have to print a new set of business cards.
  • Other small changes that add up

Luckily we hadn’t yet built a brand around ReadFu, our design was still fairly early on and we didn’t have a lot of incoming links. Later on it would have been much harder to do this change.

All in all we’re excited about our new name and we hope you like it too! Summify brings insightful summaries for any link on the web. Doesn’t it sound great?

Make sure to stay tuned, we are sending invites next week and if you’re on the private beta list (big “Sign up” button on the homepage) you’ll get one!


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