I have a personal policy of not trusting any company that has to tell me how to pronounce its name. In this case, it’s like “gift” without the “G.” As in, “I would be able to pronounce that company’s name ift it didn’t have three ‘T’s.”
But the three ‘T’s are there for a reason. The company’s central concept is based on the phrase, “if this then that.”
Jumping aboard the rising “Internet of things” tide, IFTTT announced Thursday evening that it has raised $7 million in a Series A round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with help from NEA and Lerer Ventures.
Described as “digital duct tape,” IFTTT aims to be the bridge between your Web apps. It starts with a trigger—an action that prompts a specific response. For example, you can set it up so that whenever you’re tagged in a Facebook photo, you get a text message notifying you. Or maybe you’re looking for a certain item on Craigslist; you can create a “recipe” in which you get a call on your phone when that item pops up on Craigslist.
“The amount of information, number of apps, applications, and connected internet devices we use will only continue to grow,” said IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets, in a statement.
IFTTT launched in beta two years ago, and since then, users have created over two million recipes, with tens of thousands of shared recipes for common use cases.
There’s a whole vocabulary that goes along with IFTTT. The apps and websites you want to connect are called channels (Facebook, Dropbox, Foursquare, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.), the action is called a trigger, the specific items you want to be alerted to are called the ingredients…it’s all a little more complicated than it needs to be, but you get the basic idea. There are 59 channels on the IFTTT platform.
“As everyday objects from fridges to shoes to weighing scales become equipped with communicating smart sensors, individuals’ need to create useful connections and information flows between them will far outstrip their developers’ capacity to build them,” wrote Andreessen Horowitz partner John O’Farrell, in a blog post. “I don’t know exactly when my fridge will be capable of knowing I’m running low on milk and contacting Safeway to order more, but there’s a pretty good chance an IFTTT recipe will be involved when it happens.”