Mobile

Bump cofounder doesn’t want his sharing app to be "a tool for evil"

Jake Mintz, cofounder of Bump, could make his social-sharing application send out annoying push notifications to remind users to update it and use it — but he’d rather focus on the user experience, he said.

Mintz made the comments in a quick-fire interview on stage with VentureBeat’s Anthony Ha at the DEMO Spring 2011 conference in Palm Desert, Calif., today.

“We all know apps like that, they can also be used as a tool for evil — an app that will send you a push notification every 15 minutes,” Mintz said. “Some apps have used that mechanic and grown very quickly, and you have this really powerful opportunity to be a part of someone’s life — but in the long-term you have to focus on the user experience.”

Bump lets iPhone users quickly share contact information, photos and other types of content by physically bumping phones together. The app connects the two phones via the Internet and opens up a quick-fire sharing channel. Early versions of Bump basically let users download the application and use it right away without having to register. But that left some features unused because it didn’t train users, Mintz said.

The team behind Bump is looking into applying a very light registration process that will teach users how to use some of the more niche features in the application in a version coming out later this year. That version will include illustrations and more detailed instructions built directly into the application — but shouldn’t get in the way of letting users download it and quickly use it.

“Any registration is going to cause breakage and frustration,” Mintz said. “But users aren’t going to use it as much as they should if they don’t get some kind of training.”

It’s a simple concept that’s become extremely popular — it’s the eighth most downloaded application on the Apple App store, Mintz said. iPhone users have downloaded the application 27 million times, and there are around 8 million active monthly users, he said. That’s up from around 2 million active monthly users in July last year. Users download the app around 100,000 times every day, Mintz said.

Bump also has a serious dose of venture capital funding from investment firm Andreessen-Horowitz. Investing titan Marc Andreessen joined Bump’s board of directors after leading a $16.5 million round of funding for the company. It’s raised around $20 million to date.


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