Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Paris-based start-up Iminent raised a second round of funding this month from I-Source Gestoin and previous investor 360º Capital Partners. The French start-up turns instant messaging conversations into a chaotic experience with over-the-top emoticons and video options, exactly the kind of experience teenagers dig.
With this €2.4 million series B, Iminent has raised a total of €5.4 million. So I’ve mailed CEO Francis Cohen to congratulate him and ask some questions. He told me that they’ve started Iminent because they thought Instant messaging was still a poor medium. Cohen: “When we compared IM and the web as a platform, it was striking to see that the range and deepness of services were very poor on IM. So the idea was to expand IM services beyond the obvious, so IM could sustain the comparison with the web.”
When I was taking a look at the Iminent site, it immediately struck me that the service supported a large number of languages – English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian – yet not any Asian languages. This is kind of odd, since Asian teenagers seem obsessed with self-expression. Will Iminent use the new money injection for Asian expansion? “Our first priorities are Europe and North and South America, but Asia is definitely in our plans”, said Cohen.
So is Cohen prepared for the day that IM services will launch the very same features as his service offers? After all, it isn’t too hard to create psychedelic smilies. “Once you see IM as a platform, you don’t stress about IM software editors coming into services. We are working with some IM editors who like to assess companies like Iminent as good as they can. Since we’re expanding the functionality of IM.”