Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]
Today N3twork announced that it has raised a $12 million Series A round of funding, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and participated in by Floodgate, and Google Ventures. The company was founded in January.
You likely haven’t heard of N3twork. I certainly hadn’t. You honestly won’t know much more about them until later in the year. The company is playing mum until its product is closer to completion. It declined to provide TNW with screenshots. The company did indicate that a beta of its service will be made available before its formal launch, so we should be able to get our mitts on the service before leaves fall from the trees.
Right, what is N3twork? I discussed the project with members of its team, and can only share with you a few larger points, and then drill down slightly on what its website reveals.
Fundamentally, the N3twork team views the Internet as an experience, or tool perhaps, poorly fitted for what we want from it. Have 179 tabs open in Chrome, ready to parse that content and become more informed and productive? I doubt you will. The worst part of my day is waking up, waking up the computer, and realizing that Alex of Last Night left me with at least 17 articles that need to be read. It’s worse if I use several computers in a day.
The current Internet is also, in the company’s view, poorly fitted to the modern device array; browsing on the iPad has always been an under-powered experience in my view, so I agree with this. The appification of the Internet has been a poor, quasi-solution at best. Remember when Steve Jobs promised that the iPhone would bring real browsing to mobile?
Then the company led the app revolution that directly combated that notion.
N3twork claims to be, according to its website, “something entirely new,” comprised of “an integrated experience that connects any and all digital content together based on your interests.” I honestly don’t know what that means either.” Its website is a slurry of low-information, high-buzzword phrasing: “It turns your phone or tablet into the heartbeat of your internet media experience.” All that that sentence needs is an explanation point and some functional substance.
All this is only slightly annoying. If N3twork delivers on its promises, not a single one of us will recall the time when the firm announced its Series A and left us all guessing. However, the company is exercising a form of anti-expectations-control; large, sweeping promises couched in hard to parse language and Kleiner money is a recipe for either a big launch or a big let down.
Still, there is a real nub of truth to what N3twork is working on: the Internet fundamentally isn’t tailored to your interests. Instead, you have to bend it to your bent. Fair enough, you might say, how else could we go about it?
The company intends to track your behavior by monitoring your actions on its platform, to see what you do and do not in fact like. They weren’t more specific than that, but my presumption is that they have a serious algorhitmic backing tied to strongly telemtrized usage data. Or something like that. Key to what N3twork is trying to build is that it will be cross-device, and likely cross-platform. Its service should follow you around your day and activities, helping you remain relevantly engaged.
N3twork. $12 million. Coming later this year. Ok.
Top Image Credit: Steven Damron
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