By Ikuya Yamada, Linkify co-founder
Elevator Pitch: Linkify is a tool that enables publishers to give users an enhanced way to rapidly get relevant information on their mobile device as they read and consume content. Currently, smartphones and tablets don’t provide people an easy way to search, and frankly, mobile search leaves a lot to be desired from a user perspective. Linkify gives users a more convenient and speedier way to look up relevant content online
With Linkify, hotlinks will automatically generate based on the keywords within an app or a webpage. When a user taps on any hotlinked words, their action will trigger a widget to automatically pop up above the word tapped and offer users a chance to obtain more relevant information on a range of services, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Tumblr, Google Images, etc.
Linkify is a Tokyo-based startup founded by me and another co-founder, Yasuhiro Watanabe. Yasuhiro is a well-known venture capitalist in the Japanese tech market. After working at JAFCO, Japan’s largest venture capital firm, he established an independent venture capital firm—Incubate Capital Partners. Yashuhiro has invested in several successful companies.
I’m a serial entrepreneur. I first dabbled in software engineering when I was in junior high school. After selling my first company, I went back to my studies to research computer science. Today, I’m a senior visiting researcher at Keio Research Institute at SFC and a visiting researcher at the National Institute of Informatics.
In 2007, we decided to start a new company, aiming to revitalize the Japanese software tech market. We set out to enhance the user experience of emerging smartphone and tablet environments using state-of-the-art research findings.
Searching the Internet is a basic function for people worldwide. We envision Linkify as a universal service on mobile devices. Ultimately, we think Linkify can be pre-bundled on smartphones and tablets with devices manufacturers.
According to Google, one out of every seven searches is on a mobile phone, with some market analysts projecting mobile searches to outpace desktop local searches by 2015. The UI and design of mobile web/apps is adapting to give people a more efficient mobile search experience, but we think the entire process is still cumbersome. Voice search is convenient, but ultimately disturbs the action of reading.
The benefits Linkify delivers will appeal to readers of news sites, blogs, mobile apps and webpages that offer or present text-based information to customers.
How We Differentiate From the Competition
While there are basic entity recognizers on the market, no current competitors have surfaced that come close to Linkify’s technology or practical use. Linkify goes the extra mile to never disrupt an app’s performance. Linkify’s Keyword Extraction Cloud is built on a fast cloud infrastructure, and implemented mainly in C++ and Python. Link converting is also lightweight, super fast, and keeps an app running at peak performance—of particular importance to app developers. All intensive computation is handled in the cloud.
Linkify can provide an entirely new revenue stream, which gives app publishers the ability to monetize a new and high-value feature. We currently provide Google AdSense for search, which publishers utilize. In the future, we will connect keywords to advertisements. This makes monetization a win-win not only for app publishers but also for our business model.
Currently, we are looking for additional venture funding and plan to expand our operations within the U.S. market.
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Founder: Ikuya Yamada, Yasuhiro Watanabe
Investors: Nissay Capital, Seed Technology Venture Partners
Year Founded: 2007