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Unfreeze your mind! Polar melts away ice caps of indecision

Making decisions on your own is so 2012.

Polar has unfrozen $1.2 million to continue enhancing its product, a free iOS app that creates “photo polls” to share with their friends.

When faced with whether to go with cupcakes or cake for a wedding dessert, or wondering whether their friends find public speaking more stressful than an interview, people can quickly create a survey by using the built-in image search feature and send it out to their social network. Their friends and colleagues can then vote and comment on the question to provide instant feedback.

Since its launch, Polar has seen impressive traction due to its focus on user-experience and design. The app has fun little features that make it enjoyable to use, particularly for those of us who love cute cartoon animals. The company claims to have hit 1.5 million votes in the first month of its launch, which then doubled to over 3 million votes in January. The new release explores topics and tags, see how friends vote, find friends, and skips uninteresting polls.

Founders Luke Wroblewski and Jeff Cole came up with a concept they called the “new tech mullet,” which means building a product with “simple mobile interactions up front, ‘big data’ in the back.” They founded the Input Factory to build apps that embody this philosophy. Polar is the first.

Wroblewski previously founded a startup called Bagcheck that Twitter acquired in 2011. He also worked as the chief design architect at Yahoo and served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Capital, eBay, and NCSA. Cole was a cofounder of PatientsLikeMe, which the MIT Tech Review voted as one of the 50 most innovative companies in 2012.

The early investors are a high profile crew. Founder of Yahoo Jerry Yang, John Lilly of Greylock Partners, Maynard Webb from the Webb Investment Network, Ash Patel of Morado Ventures, Brian O’Malley and Mike Dauber at Battery Ventures, Don Dodge from Google, former Twitter executive Sam Pullara, and others participated in this round.

The money will go toward making the product “better and more relevant” as well as adding new people to the small team.

Polar is not the only mobile-first decision-making app out there. Seesaw launched earlier this month with over $1 million in seed financing to help people ask efficiently ask their friends for advice. People are becoming increasingly reliant on their smartphones to make the hundreds of choices that make up in everyday life. When your friend can’t be in the store to provide friendly feedback on a blouse, or you can’t decide what to order at a hot new restaurant, mobile phones are a tool for quickly soliciting answers to these questions.

My first task? Using these apps to figure out which decision-making app to use.

Photo Credit: Gerald Simmons/ Flickr

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