Lift-off: Obvious funds its first startup

Ronny Kerr · August 24, 2011 · Short URL:

@biz, @ev and @goldman fund an app for unlocking human potential through positive reinforcement

The Obvious Corporation, something of an idea incubator created by big Twitter names Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jason Goldman, announced this week its first baby: Lift, a startup developing “an interesting application for unlocking human potential through positive reinforcement.”

While specific funding terms are not being disclosed, Stone, Williams and Goldman have all joined Lift as investors and partners via Obvious.

Through the deal, we’ve learned a little bit more about how Obvious will incubate ideas and invest in companies:

“It’s important never to delude ourselves into thinking that technology changes the world. People are responsible for change—technology just helps out,” writes Stone in a blog post introducing Lift. “At Obvious, our goal is to foster systems that help people work together to improve the world.”

“Our approach is threefold: Build, partner, and invest. We’ve started working on some ideas ourselves, we’re researching how best to create an investment vehicle, and today we’re thrilled to announce our first official partnership.”

Different from the typical incubator, like AngelPad, 500 Startups or Y Combinator, the Obvious Corporation actually appears to have certain ideas for products in mind, and they will all run along the same theme of bettering the world.

Lift is still in alpha, so there isn’t much to know about the company at this stage. All we can glean from two blog posts and a sparse launch page is that Lift wants to help people “achieve anything” and “improve the world” and “investigate human potential.” In short, it’s about ambiguous as you can get.

Working on the Lift application are Tony Stubblebine, founder and CEO of CrowdVine, and Jon Crosby, who had previously worked at Path, Engine Yard Cloud and Songbird. (Stubblebine says CrowdVine, which builds social networks for events and groups, “will continue to operate as normal with the existing team.”)

Stubblebine has known the team behind Obvious for six years, since the Odeo days before Twitter. Now that they’re working together again, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

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