Flingo, a company co-founded in 2008 by Bit Torrent co-founder Ashwin Navin, has locked up $7 million in funding from August Capital to expand its social TV platform, the company announced Tuesday.
Flingo is a publisher of Smart TV apps – apps for Internet-enabled televisions – and it will use this latest round of funding to delve further into the “second screen” space. That means apps and other content on laptops, phones and tablets that one uses while watching television.
The company attempts to merge the TV experience with what happens on the second screen. It uses audio recognition software to recognize what is on TV, providing web content on the second screen that corresponds to that. It also enables users to use web platforms like Twitter or Facebook through the TV.
Studies have demonstrated that more than 70 percent of tablet owners use them while watching TV, which is why there has been an explosion of companies in that space over the past couple of years.
Some of the more prominent companies attempting to become the essential TV viewing companion include GetGlue, Miso, IntoNow (now owned by Yahoo) and Shazam.
Flingo wants to expand its footprint on both the TV and other devices, as well as invest more in its automatic content recognition software.
“Flingo has the potential to build a very large business enabling new experiences around broadcast television,” David Marquardt, co-founder of August Capital, said in a statement. “The company already has gained strong traction with the top names in TV programming, consumer electronics, and digital media. We're excited to be a part of the team.”
Marquardt, a long-time Microsoft board member, will join Flingo’s board of directors, as will Howard Hartenbaum, a founding investor in Skype.
Flingo allows for easy sharing on Twitter and Facebook, but one question for all “second screen” companies is whether anyone will use their app rather than turn directly to the social media powerhouses.
There is also the issue of whether people turn to their second screens for content that is a companion to the TV or that is separate from that experience.
Flingo is currently on 7.8 million screens by its internal count and has partnerships with Fox and Showtime.