Snappli raises $1M from Greylock, Index, Klaus Hommels

Startup helps people reduce their mobile data usage to save costs

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
September 5, 2012
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Speed. We're addicted to it when it comes to the Internet. And, the more we're on our mobile phones, like when traveling out of the country and relying on it to keep our children occupied, the more we'll want the same fast experience when surfing the mobile Internet. 

The challenge, however, is that surfing the mobile Internet can actually be expensive because of the amount of data that's consumed.

Snappli, a startup based in London and San Francisco, is trying to fix that problem by increasing the browsing speed and reducing data costs. The company announced Tuesday that it's launched a cloud-service iPhone app, which speeds up mobile browsing by up to two times. At the same time, Snappli said it's raised a seed round of $1 million in new financing from Greylock, Index Ventures and Klaus Hommels, the first investor in Skype.

Prior to this funding, Roy and Eldar Tuvey founded the company in January of this year and put in their own funds to jumpstart the company. Roy Tuvey wouldn't disclose how much he and his brother funded the company, only to say "it was quite significant."

Both Tuveys aren't short on cash. In January 2010, they sold Scansafe, a security startup they founded in 2004, to Cisco for $183 million in cash. The external money they took in was to get great names behind their company. 

"The problem we're trying to solve here is mobile data," said Tuvey, in an interview with me. "Mobile data is growing through the roof and the network operators are responding by phasing out unlimited data plans [since it's become so costly for them]. But since the advent of the iPhone, the data usage has actually gone up."

How it works

For the user, the app is simple. Just download it onto an iPhone or iPad for free. The mobile data is sent to Snappli's cloud server, which then compresses the data and accelerates the delivery of pages. A consumer can see how much data is being used, how much faster the pages are loading, and the savings. 

In very simple terms, part of what's happening is "conflation." Web pages are made up of different components, Tuvey explained. When conflation occurs, it's essentially merging all of the individual pieces of a Web page and making it one. This way only one page is downloaded vs multiple components. 

Based on a beta test with 1000 people, Snappli was able to save them on average 1.7 megs a day or 50 megs a month, said Tuvey. This meant a savings of  $3 a month, since each meg costs 6 cents.  

For now, the app is free to consumers. But at some point, there might be a premium app available. Additionally, Snappli is looking at the enterprise, since companies spend a lot of money in roaming charges. Snappli is also working with network operators, which are trying to relesae some network congestion.   

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