Startup OnBeep has announced that it has raised a new Series A round of $6.25 million in funding for its group communication wearable. The OnBeep 'walkie talky' wearable is being described by some news sites as being essentially similar to the Communicator badge from Star Trek.
OnBeep's funding includes investments from Riche Levandov of Avalon ventures. Previous seed funding came from Matt Mullenweg, who created WordPress, and Twitter "pioneer" Jeremy LaTrasse, amongst others, according to Gigaom. The device is being developed with aim of facilitating smartphone user voice chat, walkie-talkie style, with a pre-selected group of friends. It can be activated with a single touch and will be customised for voice communication in small groups.
"It’s worn on the body," Jesse Robbins, OnBeep's chief executive and founder said, in an interview with VentureBeat. "It’s sort of like a badge or a brooch. It connects via Bluetooth to your phone, and it’s focused on real-time group communication."
Although yet to be revealed, the device is said to feature a clip, a mic jack, a speaker, and a volume button. It is designed to fit different styles of fashion for men and women. It will be compatible and communicate through iPhones and Android-based smartphones via Bluetooth, with the team touting a minimum battery time of a day with active usage.
The OnBeep probably will not be styled this way, for legal reasons.
The San Francisco-based company has plans to give a preview of the device this autumn, and start rolling out with the first wave of test devices by the end of the year. Prototypes have only been given out in sparse numbers to testers so far. OnBeep's 20-person team has doubled this year, and currently includes engineers and designers with strong backgrounds including experience at Apple, Google and Motorola.
If you are interested in this 'Communicator' style wearable, you can sign up on the firm's website to get more information as and when it becomes available.