Yapert Steps into Limelight with $1.2M, Mobile Celebrity App Watcher

7/22/13Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego-based Yapert says it has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Southern California’s Tech Coast Angels to roll out its social media mobile app for celebrity pix and vids.

The startup raised $500,000 when it was founded last year, and the latest infusion brings total funding to $1.7 million. Yapert plans to use the new funding to expand its technology platform and for sales and marketing.

Yapert says it is tapping the multi-billion dollar entertainment media industry to provide real-time social media updates for mobile users. The startup aggregates visual content and light news headlines that mostly feature personalities from film, television, music, fashion, lifestyle, sports, and health and fitness. In a statement last week, Yapert says fans can customize the app through a “favorites” option and get alerts when there is new content or a message from or about the celebs they follow most closely.

Yapert "Trending Now" Screenshot

Yapert says it intends to partner with media companies, consumer brands, and prominent entertainers to offer exclusive contests and behind-the-scenes content.

Yapert’s founder and CEO is Phil Kelly, a former Motorola and Dell Computer executive who spent most of his career in Asia. His expertise on best business practices in Asia led him to write the 2001 business book Asia360: The Culture of Building Businesses in Asia. Co-founders include Rick Cooper, an engineering executive and board member of the San Diego Tech Coast Angels, and Michael Young, a veteran software developer who worked previously at Redfin, Microsoft, and Plumtree Software.

The company also has recruited media veteran Karina Paje, whose background includes some work in digital strategies and marketing for music artists at Warner and Nettwerk Music Group.

The Yapert app is available for free at the Apple Store, and the company says it is beta testing an app for the Android operating system.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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