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Have you ever opened your RSS reader and felt like you’re gazing into the abyss at the gazillion unread items? Have you felt the guilty satisfaction of using the “Mark all as read” option? If so, Summify, a startup based in Vancouver, Canada, might be the answer to your prayers.
Fresh out of startup incubator Bootup Labs, Summify has just announced an undisclosed seed round of funding from Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures, an angel fund active in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. The startup develops a social news-reader meant to help you “consume your river of news in minutes, rather than hours”, it says.
The two founders, former Google and Microsoft engineering interns, developed an algorithm that aggregates all the news from your Google Reader and Twitter accounts, eliminates the duplicates, and filters the most important news using social reactions: tweets, likes, shares and comments.
The information overload is a longtime problem, and many startups failed trying to come up with a solution. Even big names are now in the race for the best news personalization award. One of them is the New Digg, which displays top news as voted (or dugg) by the people you follow. However, while the New Digg uses only diggs to rate important news, Summify feeds on existing social reactions. “We could even integrate diggs from the New Digg into our algorithm”, says Mircea Pasoi, one of the founders.
Another competitor is Flipboard, a social magazine for iPad, which only aggregates Twitter and Facebook articles, offering no support for RSS at this time.
As for Summify’s business model, the founders say that’s still to be determined. They are focusing now on building a solution and getting traction. “We are convinced that anyone who solves the information overload/news personalization problem on a large scale will also be able to monetize such a service”, says Mircea. Let’s hope they’re right.
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