Quick Pitch: Innobell makes calls and instant messaging on mobile devices inherently more social.
Genius Idea: Use applications during phone calls.
Inspired by a frustrating phone call during which he was unable to adequately describe his whereabouts, 20-year-old Israeli entrepreneur Shai Magzimof set out to build an application that would simplify the exchange of information over the phone. “If I’m connected to the person I’m talking to, why can’t I use all of my applications with that person?” he rationed.
Innobell, released earlier this month for Android, brings Magzimof’s vision to fruition. The application allows users to exchange a wealth of practical, social and entertainment content while talking on the phone or chatting in the app.
The Innobell user can make a call, as usual, and then select from the service’s social media add-ons to turn the call into the unusual — an interactive conversation that extends beyond words and onto the web.
Innobell users can play games with each other, share photos or other content from Facebook, exchange money via PayPal, trade Wikipedia articles or websites, share their location courtesy of Google Maps and simultaneously watch YouTube videos together. Beginning next week, users can even exchange Groupons. The same content exchange possibilities are available to Innobell chat users.
“Why am I supposed to bump my phone?,” Magzimof questions.
He is, of course, referencing Bump, a mobile application that lets users exchange photos, music, social media and contact details by bumping phones together. He reasons that the act is unnatural when compared to the familiar behavior of phoning a friend. “My grandma can understand that,” he says of exchanging information over the phone. “When she’s calling someone, that’s when she’s connected to that person.”
Apart from device idiosyncrasies and Innobell’s single platform experience, Magzimof has nailed rich and social media data exchange via phone or chat. Users love it, he says, and are clamoring for Innobell to add Twitter, release a version for iPhone and introduce VoIP calling functionality.
He’s happy to oblige the requests. An iPhone version of Innobell is slated for release in the next three months. Application users can also expect to see new add-ons integrated into the experience on an ongoing basis.
Innobell is based in Tel Aviv, Israel and has raised more than $200,000 from an investor friend of Magzimof’s. The startup plans to earn money through affiliate marketing and revenue sharing with developers.