Bubbli raises $2 million to build the matrix

Recognized by TED and John Doerr, stealth startup secures monetary approval from August Capital

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
February 8, 2011
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Bubbli, a new stealth startup with some obscurely massive ambitions to change the way we use photos on mobile devices, has raised around $2 million in a funding round led by August Capital, according to TechCrunch.
The startup modestly places this quotation at the bottom of its introduction page, but I’m moving it to the top of this article because it gives me the most hope for Bubbli:
“I’ve seen the future,” attributed to John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Yes, Doerr of the iFund, sFund, Twitter’s massive late-stage investment and more Silicon Valley goodies.
On top of that invaluable testimonial, the startup has the honor of soft launching at TED, which means we’ll know more about the service by the beginning of March.
You can check out their website for more information, but it’s all pretty cloudy. The company was co-founded by designer Terrence McArdle and Ben Newhouse, notable for creating an augmented reality app for Yelp called “Monocle” that let you see reviews for businesses just by pointing the camera at them.

Since they’re not giving us any information besides references to the Matrix, some general facts about contemporary technology along with sketches of flying saucers, here’s my crazy theory for they’re doing:

They’re saying they want to “build the matrix” by making the virtual and the real “indistinguishable” and they want to effect this transformation somehow with smartphone pictures. Based on that foundation, my guess is that Bubbli wants to aggregate all our GPS-tagged photos into a virtual world. Think of each photo we take as just one little bubble on the surface and the vision of our world as the ocean.

It would be something like crowdsourcing the mission of those Google Street View cars, but taking it way beyond the road. (Those cars can’t see inside restaurants or forests, now can they?) My ridiculous prediction is that Bubbli wants the smartphone users of the world to contribute to a massive, interactive world image.

Of course, there’s the issue of time: our world isn’t static. Sometimes there’s a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and sometimes there isn’t. And there are probably a lot more problems, but that’s why I’m a writer and not an engineer. (By the way, if you're an engineer, Bubbli is hiring.)

It would be quite ambitious, but they've impressed both TED and John Doerr, so I’m going way out there.

Tear apart my theory or post your own in the comments.

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