Our Investment in Singly

by Ryan McIntyre

We are pleased to announce our initial investment in Singly, Inc.  The company, located in San Francisco’s Mission District, is creating a software platform and service for personal data.

Through investments in our Glue theme, we’ve seen companies like Gnip and Next Big Sound build valuable businesses by making it easy for developers to obtain and interact with big sets of public data from web applications.

And the volume of private/people data (and information related to people) is exploding: tweets, photos, videos, click-streams, social interactions, check-ins, data from real-world sensors like heart monitors, email, Fitbit-like devices, health records, financial records, transaction histories, location information and much more.  This growing, fragmented world is rich with possibilities and nascent in its organization and infrastructure.

Singly is focused on empowering this personal web – adding value for developers by making personal data routable, structured and available via a single API.  With Singly, developers can skip the hassle of building custom code and data connectors for each service they support; won’t have to maintain APIs as they change; and won’t need to do the tedious work of normalizing similar data sets with uncommon patterns.  For the next several months – with its current closed alpha – the company is getting the platform into the hands of developers for feedback, working with a handful of launch partners, hosting hackathons and growing the breadth of services it supports.

This enormous opportunity extends well beyond social data as wireless service providers, credit card companies, automobile manufacturers, utilities, and countless other companies open up people’s data to them for reuse in other applications.  Things like shopping engines, content discovery, search results, restaurant guides, travel sites, serendipity applications and more will become incredibly powerful.

As computing experiences become increasingly personal, Singly plays an equally important role for end users as a trusted intermediary – ensuring applications, web services and devices behave responsibly and that people are in greater control and explicitly aware of what is happening with their digital assets. As regulators, web service providers and consumers grapple with the implications of how data are used, Singly is positioned to power a trustworthy, user-centric future. This is an exciting and important opportunity.

Singly was founded by Jason Cavnar, Jeremie Miller and Simon Murtha-Smith.  Jason has a diverse background as a multi-time startup founder.  Jeremie is well known as the developer of XMPP/Jabber, the open source protocol that powers most Instant Messaging and many real-time web applications.  Simon has a background in both mechanical and computer engineering. The three of them came together to found Singly after separately working on social readers and social search applications that required similar engineering efforts to solve the same problems.

We are excited to help the Singly folks be successful and welcome them to the team.