Sporting sneakers and chugging sugar-free Red Bulls, OnSwipe founders Jason L. Baptiste and Andres Barreto may look like typical overworked kids right out of college. But get them talking about the future of publishing, the tablet market, why native apps suck and how Microsoft should be run and you’ll quickly realize, these gentlemen are not your average college graduates.
When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad last January, it kickstarted a year of rapid experimentation as news publishers hunted for ways to capitalize on tablet computing. The “iPad effect” was a tsunami through the publishing industry.
The two entrepreneurs, Baptiste, age 25 and Barreto, age 23, were poised for the age of the tablet. Both men are passionate writers who wanted to make their content look beautiful on the iPad. Armed with skills in coding and software development, Baptiste and Barreto are now entrenched in their efforts to make the publishing experience more enjoyable for the reader from both the editorial experience and the advertising side.
“We’re a media company with a heart and soul of awesome software and design,” says Baptiste.
The men arrived in New York City just two weeks ago for the inaugural NY TechStars class by way of Boston via Miami (Baptiste) and Miami via Argentina, Chile and Colombia (Barreto). Averaging about 5 Red Bulls a day (provided by the TechStars program), the two spoke very highly of their experience thus far under the wings of TechStars founder and director, David Cohen and David Tisch, respectively. Aside from a rough adjustment to NYC’s winter weather, they’re very excited to be in the city that never sleeps, and very stoked that there is a 24-hour Best Buy just steps from their office.
So what is OnSwipe? OnSwipe is a platform that makes it easy for any publisher from a blogger using Posterous to the New York Times to make their content and advertising an immersive, aesthetic experience on iPads via a Web browser. It runs off of WordPress for now but will work with Movable Type in the near future. Mind you, OnSwipe IS NOT AN APP. It delivers an app like experience on the web that looks beautiful on an iPad.
“Apps are bullshit for content,” says Baptiste who refers to native apps as “PDF readers” and equates them to a Ponzi scheme for publishers. “It’s all about delivering an app-like experience on the web. With OnSwipe, publishers can have their cake and eat it too.”
As an editor you don’t have to do very much work. Just turn the OnSwipe platform on and it organizes your content into a customizable, design conscious and iPad friendly format. Want to know more? Watch the gentlemen behind OnSwipe talk about their platform, the future of digital publishing and why the iPad is so important.
“The demo shown in this video is of PadPressed, the precursor to OnSwipe. Think of padpressed as the equivalent of our “university research project.” OnSwipe is a much larger evolution from that and encompasses much more,” explains Baptiste.
“This is our time to reinvent media. It’s not going to happen again for a very long time, so we might as well do it right and have fun with it,” Baptiste says with a wide smile.
Baptiste is currently writing a book on entrepreneurship under the Portfolio imprint of the Penguin group. Before founding OnSwipe, Baptiste worked on numerous start-ups including Cloudomatic, Genevine and Publictivity. Meanwhile, Barreto is also a serial entrepreneur. In addition to working on Cloudomatic, he founded two businesses in Latin America, PulsoSocial and Socialatom and later co-founded the exceedingly popular online music sharing community, Grooveshark. And he is just 23 years old, by the way.
While they haven’t officially launched yet, in just 30 days the boys raised a sweet 1 million in seed funding from Spark Capital, Betaworks and AdMob investor ENIAC Ventures. Angel investors included Hubspot CTO Dharmesh Shah, Jennifer Lum, Roy Rodenstein and Wayne Chang. While they’re looking to hire between 8-10 new employees, they’ve also convinced Threewords.me founder Mark Bao to work with them part-time.
For now you may click onto the next story, but just remember the future of media will be all about swiping.