Friday, November 11, 2011

Amazon Reportedly Acquires Charlotte-based Yap

Yap, a venture capital-backed startup in Charlotte, reportedly has been acquired by Amazon. The deal has not been announced. According to a filing with the SEC found by a blogger in Charlotte at Clt Blog, Amazon acquired Yap in September.

Speculation is that Amazon could use Yap’s technology to compete with Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant included in Apple’s new iPhone 4S, adding it to the forthcoming Kindle Fire tablet. "Amazon officials have already boasted that the Kindle Fire will do for the video industry what the iPod did for the music industry," VentureBeat reported.

"Amazon Prime subscribers may soon have the ability to do voice searches of the company’s vast catalog of streaming video content, as well as books, and one of the world’s largest inventories of physical goods." Yap is a startup focused on converting cell phone or other calls to text for use in messages, updating Web sites and search. It closed on $6.5 million in Series A round venture financing in 2008. Yap raised $1.5 million in 2007. The company launched in 2006.

SunBridge Partners led the 2008 round. Other new investors included Pittco Capital Partners and Harbert Venture Partners. Individuals who had invested earlier in the company also participated in the new round. "Yap is truly a leader in freeform speech recognition and driving innovation in the mobile user experience," said Paul Grim, general partner at SunBridge. "It is increasingly clear that the fastest, easiest, and safest way to interact with services on a mobile device is using your voice, and Yap makes this both possible and intuitive. We are excited to help them deliver on a vision in which carriers, device makers, and Web portals are all able to provide an entirely new experience for their users." Igor Jablokoy is chief executive and a co-founder of the company.

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