Today a press release was issued stating that Taptu had received funding for its social reader. But the big story was not about the existing Taptu platform but a new platform called Tapform. I needed to know more and called up Taptu for a interview. This is how it went.
Bena Roberts speaks to Mitch Lazar CEO Taptu
Bena: Hi Mitch, congratulations on the additional funding. I see that Sofinnova has stayed on board as an investor. Is this something very important for Taptu or were you eager to find new venture funding?
Mitch: Thank-you. It’s very important to us to have both of our existing investor return. They are both confident in the space that we are in and the strategy and direction that we have. They have a strong belief in what we are doing. Both are terrific supporters of Taptu and it was key to have them return and continue their support.
Bena: So, Tapform does sound very interesting. The social reader app space is competitive but the B2B market could be a cash cow. Can you sum up Tapform in two lines?
Mitch: Tapform is an open social media aggregation platform. We will afford media and Internet companies to build on our platform and create their own social and media experiences that feature the same great mixing, tagging and intelligent search technology – we’ve built to launch their own powerful and engaging experiences.
The media landscape is fast changing and Taptu can provide a new dimension for main stream media to move beyond their single source experiences and afford their customers to mash and mix content creating a more compelling media environment for phones and tablets.
Bena: Can Tapform be monetised? If so what types of adverts or sponsored links?
Mitch: Absolutely. First through licenses of our science and technology. Second, through creative media marketing and advertising. The marketing and advertising needs to be creative and take advantage of the social media and aggregation technology.
Because our customers build a service around their passions and interests, we also understand their media behavior and when we can match intent with advertisers, our platform can attract a higher premium because we move to a behavior or passion based advertising model which is incredible attractive for brands and advertisers.
Bena: Passion based advertising sounds great but is that another term for intense profiling?
Mitch: I wouldn’t classify it as intense profiling. That would be more along the lines of what Phorm did for example. We’re not saying this so I think intense profiling is a bit strong as we aren’t going this direction. Basically, we know when you set up and use taptu if you’re a sports enthusiast, finance expert, love film or into fashion for example. Based on interests, we can serve ads related to genres and based on this they will be much better targeted and in theory matched to customer preferences thus CTR and engagement with ad content would be likely higher. We also will move beyond banners and buttons to work with brands and advertisers on new forms of advertising based on our platform and social media opportunities.
Bena: Was it a big decision to open up your search API’s. How necessary is it to do that?
Mitch: It’s completely natural. We’ve been working on this for a while and it makes so much sense to allow others to build on what we’ve created and invested in over the last five years. We believe through our partnerships the platform will become even more valuable, more intelligent and a better experience for our customers.
Bena: There is only one mention of a keyword based search scheme in the announcement and I know that search was the premise of the Taptu launch. Is this something different than existing searches – do you have any screen shots. Or is this just the way you tag content to find relevant results for readers… As you can see, I might need some explanation here!
Mitch: Stay tuned. We have some big developments in the feature set of the search elements in Taptu coming just around the corner. We continue to enhance the search functionality and experience. Taptu is about a better browsing and discovery experience and that is exactly the kind of thing that you will experience when you see our next improvements to the search functionality in our product.
Bena: Now, before I end… I have a bone to pick with you. I downloaded Taptu on my iPad when I was getting better earlier this year and I have to say, I love it. I have my gossip news (OMG.Yahoo) my news (Guardian) and everything I want in one easy place. But every time I ask for GoMo News it says (site not know). Is there anyway you can add little old us to your content platform??
Bena Update: no sooner said than done. Within one hour GoMo News was on Taptu and the lead tech guy told me that this was all about a slight technical glitch… we are happy… thank-you Mitch and team!