Seven-digit euro amount for the app that could ease your SXSW communication

Founders: David Nellessen, Michael Asshauer and Hauke Windmüller
Founders: David Nellessen, Michael Asshauer and Hauke Windmüller

Hamburg-based Familonet raises a seven-digit euro amount from existing and new investors. Though you might not have heard of it, here is why you should consider it your messenger app for SXSW.

width="514"

Founders: David Nellessen, Michael Asshauer and Hauke Windmüller

There are messenger apps out there like fish in the sea and each and every one points out why it is winning in its field. Familonet specialized on inner-family communication and knowing where others are. While this does sound like a “Big Brother is watching you” app, parents nowadays are apparently more easy going with their kids and don’t check back on them as much as they used to.

Here is how it works

All family members install the app and connect to each other. Besides basic chat functions like sending pictures, each person can set up places. As soon as one of the family members comes close to a saved location, it automatically checks the person in, and, depending on the settings, sends a push notification to other family members. These places could be a school, an office, someone’s best friend’s house, a sports club, or home.

Familonet for handling communication and get-togethers with Friends

While it first sounded like a control freak app to me, I learned the advantages when trying it at the startup conference Pioneers Festival in Vienna last October. A couple of friends and I installed the app and set up places such as the Pioneers Festival conference space, our Airbnb places and hotels.

width="191"

Screenshot

What happened was that our in-app communication actually decreased. The usual “Where are you now?” was cut, because we could see who was already at the conference or who just left home. While sitting in a conference room, I received a push notification informing me who of my group just entered the building. The biggest plus was that we didn’t have to check in, instead the app did it for us.

With SXSW offering so many places to go and to meet up, it’s easy to separate as a group and hard to get everyone back to one place. While in the past we used GroupMe, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Foursquare to stay in touch, we will this year use Familonet, as it seems to be the right mix for this occasion.

The app that started out as a University project in 2012, launched in 2013 and has about 350,000 registered users, Familonet states. The new investment will mainly be used for marketing campaigns, e.g. on Facebook, growth and product development, as Windmüller shares with VentureVillage.

While further details of the deal stayed undisclosed, it was mentioned that the Series A round comes from the existing investors HR Ventures, Venista Ventures and WestTech Ventures, and new ones such as the media company Badisches Pressehaus, Haas New Media, Verlagsgruppe Rhein Main and Fonds Hamburg. Two business angels, Dr. Michael Goldapp and Dominik Gyllensvärd, also joined the round.