This afternoon, French startup Kwaga, creator of smart address book service WriteThat.Name, announced its acquisition of New York-based startup BoxCar for an undisclosed amount. Founded in June 2009, BoxCar’s push notification applications for iPhone received $150K seed round from the Paris-based Kima Ventures this past March. In the announcement, Kwaga CEO Philippe Laval stated that the “acquisition will bring together two services with the same vision in mind: attention management.”
We’ve written a lot about Kwaga in the past year, including an interview with Laval that came out a month before they raised their latest round of funding $1.5M. Their flagship product WriteThat.Name uses a patented symantec enginge to ‘read’ your emails and pull out all the contact info, in order to automatically update your address book. While the service is fantastic (i’ve been using it for 8 months now and haven’t manually updated my address book since), I’ve always been a little upset at their lack of investment in an interface for their smart address book. While buying Boxcar doesn’t insure a new competitor in the smart address book market, Laval did say that users can expect their iPhone address books to get a lot smarter in the next few months.
Keeping Boxcar alive
The acquisition doesn’t mean the end of Boxcar, for those who have been using the service to centralize their push notifications to one application. Laval said that the first step will be “to restore full service to BoxCar users and [they] are committed to keeping it as a separate application.” This may be in reference to the complaints that the service has been down in the past month, as reported by Cultofmac.com. Boxcar founder Jonathan George referred to the future work between Kwaga and Boxcar as “Joint development projects,” so it will be interested to see how these two ‘projects’ develope down the road.
Despite BoxCar’s first to market status on bringing push notifications to all iPhone apps before all iPhone apps were pushing notifications, recent criticisms by the tech press have suggested that its service had been rendered obsolete. Given Kima’s investment in the company, I’m sure they were quite happy to find a Paris startup in their own backyard who was looking to and willing to collaborate – the best outcome for both parties, I imagine – though only time will tell.
Kwaga’s smart address book updater ties into Google Apps, IBM Lotus Notes, Outlook, as well as with several CRMs (SalesForce, Highrise, etc.). The service is available on a freemium model, and users can sign up on the website today