LONDON, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Innovative social platform lets users spontaneously connect and interact in rich and playful ways
Urturn, the social platform for self-expression, has today announced the completion of a $13.4 million fundraising round including a $10.7m investment by Balderton Capital, the leading European venture capital firm. In addition, Urturn is announcing the launch of its mobile app. By making Urturn more readily accessible to its users, the mobile app will enable people to spontaneously connect in rich and playful ways.
By simply flicking through Urturn's range of ready-made templates and choosing an Expression to suit their mood, users can instantly express themselves in an ever-growing variety of ways - from personalising images with doodles, captions or music clips to creating collages or inviting the community to cast votes on sets of pictures. Whether Expressions are shared on Urturn or on other social media platforms and websites, the innovative 'Your Turn' button enables users to share new interpretations of other people's posts and join in with movements spreading across the web.
With the launch of the Urturn mobile app, users will be able to spontaneously capture moments of inspiration on-the-fly. The beautiful app is a powerful way for turning experiences into expressions - users simply select the style, inject an image and instantly personalise it in rich and creative ways. Urturn is fully integrated - so media can be taken from your Facebook, Instagram or even Vimeo feeds and incorporated into any one of the ready-made Expressions.
"While existing social platforms have focused on connecting people and all provide finite ways for interacting online, we've focused on how people interact - providing an ever-growing variety of rich and playful ways for our users to express themselves. Born out of the acknowledgement that users want to be more expressive, Urturn is the next natural step for social media," comments Stelio Tzonis, CEO at Urturn. "We believe our mobile app will make Urturn more accessible and enable people to share Expressions more spontaneously."
The Series A fundraising includes a $10.7m investment by Balderton Capital, whose past investments include Bebo, Lovefilm, Betfair, wooga and Friend.ly. It comes at a time of increased speculation around waning interest in Facebook among teens and growing interest in social platforms that support more creative ways for users to interact. The private equity arm of Debiopharm Group invested the remaining $2.7m. As part of the agreement, Balderton's founding partner Barry Maloney will join Urturn's board.
"When we first met the team behind Urturn, we could see that their idea would transform the way people around the world express themselves through social media and we wanted to be involved," comments Barry Maloney, founding partner at Balderton Capital. "Using Urturn's Expressions, users can enjoy sharing unique content in the fastest, clearest and most engaging ways yet. We are excited to watch the progress and continued word-of-mouth endorsements that have earned Stelio and his team the support of many loyal users already."
The platform has already received significant interest from the music industry, with artists rapidly recognising that it provides fun new ways to connect with their fans. Artists that have already signed up to the platform include Rita Ora, David Bowie, One Direction, Green Day, Union J, Ellie Goulding, The Gossip, Carly Rae Jepsen and Kendrick Lamar.
Urturn also has plans to open up the platform to the community - with an API which gives enthusiasts the opportunity to create their own Expressions, templates that can then be adopted by friends, followers and fans. It is the first time a social platform has let the community shape how they communicate and express themselves online.
"We're honoured to have the support of Balderton Capital," continues Stelio Tzonis. "As well as being one of the preeminent VCs in Europe, they have a great track record in taking European start-ups to the US."
Key features include:
- Urturn's ever-growing library of Expressions - ready-made templates that can be instantly personalised in all kinds of ways. Examples include Bubbles, Pix, Tags, Magnifier, Versus, Doodle and Music Postcard
- The 'Your Turn' button is totally unique - there is no other platform that lets you take inspiration or join in with online movements in such a rich and interactive way.
- Using Urturn's Bookmarklet, you can grab images from across the web and instantly turn them into expressions. Share your feelings or ask the community for their opinion using the 'Love it/Leave it' and 'Versus' expressions.
- Urturn's API (which is currently in private beta) will enable enthusiasts to create all sorts of new ways for users to interact and express themselves
- Urturn is fully integrated - so media can be taken from your Facebook, Instagram or Youtube feeds and incorporated into any one of the ready-made Expressions.
Urturn (http://www.urturn.com) is a fast and playful way to share your unique view of the world with friends, followers and celebrities. Available on the web or as a mobile app, it comes with an ever-growing range of Expressions - ready-made templates let you spontaneously express yourself in fun and creative new ways. Its Your Turn' button also lets you take inspiration or interact with other people's posts like never before. Whether browsing the web or shooting images with your mobile phone, anyone can rapidly post an expression and achieve instant greatness! The company was launched in January 2013 by brothers Alexandre and Stelio Tzonis, Mathieu Fivaz and Vincent Borel. It employs 25 people in Lausanne, London and Silicon Valley.
About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is one of the largest venture capital firms in Europe, committed to finding and helping talented entrepreneurs build great companies. Based in London, the firm manages $1.9 billion in committed venture capital. Since 2000, Balderton has invested in over 100 companies, principally in numerous European countries but also in the US and Asia. Notable investments include YOOX Group (the online retailer of leading fashion brands, listed in December 2009), LOVEFiLM (the home entertainment subscription service sold to Amazon in January 2011), Betfair (the online betting exchange floated in London in October 2010), Bebo (sold to AOL for $850m), and MySQL (sold to Sun for $1 billion). For more information, visit: http://www.balderton.com.
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