GTar creators launch new product – Keys.

Congratulations to Idan Beck and Incident Technologies – they now have a new product to join the Gtar. Keys is a modular wireless and midi Keyboard. It is ingenious in function and a thing of beauty.

The product launched an indiegogo campaign and reached its target within a few hours.

Downtown launches in Palo Alto

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Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 4.20.37 PMWith today’s launch of Downtown, Palo Alto residents will be able to purchase goods from a curated list of high quality local stores. Their purchases can be delivered for free or picked up the same day.

Local shopping can be frustrating and time consuming. Avoiding the travel and the point of sale has been a primary driver of online ecommerce growth. Local retailers have suffered a decline in sales to cloud based vendors as a result. But Downtown plans to change all that.

The two decades long decline of the high street, due to too little innovation discovery and purchasing of goods is set to end.

Downtown simplifies commerce by offering customers a curated list of high quality local stores. Ordering is as simple as just 2 taps from their mobile device. They can pick their purchase up at the store, or get same day delivery for free. The chosen stores now have the ability make their top items mobile and available.

Downtown has built an app for the store to manage their inventory and an app for the consumer to discover, purchase and take delivery. Pricing can benefit from demand knowledge, extending dynamic pricing to the high street for the first time.

The Downtown team is design-driven and strongly believes in a curated shops approach to create a truly great shopping experience.

Co-founder Phillip Buckendorf said:

Most of the existing e-commerce solutions have their roots in a website driven experience. We have built a mobile-first experience that takes into account the opportunities smart mobile devices provide. We have made it available to both merchants and customers.

Today, Downtown is announcing the roll-out of its first city – Palo Alto – featuring a great mix of local stores including Alegio Chocolate and big brand retailers like Keen Garage.

Downtown’s launch is its first move in making local stores mobile, and providing consumers with the ease of shopping of Amazon, together with same day delivery of pick up – customers can now make purchases efficiently and seamlessly without physically being in the store.

Downtown also announced its seed round of funding led by Archimedes Labs – investors in Quixey, M.dot, QFactor and others. Archimedes Labs founder Keith Teare said:

We invested in Downtown before Christmas and are announcing it today. We will also participate in their current round. Downtown is not a local delivery business or a local payment platform for brick and mortar shopping, Nor is it a local version of Amazon. It is all of those and then some. Once the high street becomes shoppable from home, the small guy makes a come-back. Phillip and his team have a great vision and the ability to execute. We expect great things.

DownTown is available now in the iOS App Store.

Chance by just.me – new version goes live.

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Chance by just.me is the first app to be produced by the new just.me (just.me 2014 Inc).

After a successful launch on 1 January the app has had tens of thousands of downloads, has a highly engaged user base with average session times above 15 minutes, and is truly global, having established users in more than 100 countries. Almost 2 million messages have been exchanged in the first 3 weeks.

Here are a few screen dumps from Google Analytics that show the initial launch statistics.

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QFactor raises $6.5m Series A

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TechCrunch is reportingScreen Shot 2013-10-29 at 9.20.08 AM that one of the Archimedes LAbs portfolio companies – QFactor – has raised a $6.5m round of financing from Sigma Prime Ventures and Venrock.

I first met Subhash Roy in March 2012. He was a former associate of Archimedes CEO Kambiz Hooshmand. Subhash had licensed and developed a new algorithm that on the face of it was like magic. It could enable a bad wireless connection to perform almost perfectly, thus re-invigorating unused bandwidth. We helped with product planning and positioning and are now happy investors in Subhash’s company. Congrats to the entire team.