Viigo, a Toronto company that offers a convenient mobile phone application that lets you subscribe to news, entertainment and other content, has raised $6.4 million in financing.
Viigo competes head to head with Freerange. Both companies offer what is called an RSS Reader, or a technology that allows you to subscribe easily to the articles produced by some 5,000 “channels,” ranging from publications from the New York Times to the niche blog for pet lovers.
Both companies are also praised for their ease of use. They let you download article feeds for offline use, so that you can read your favorite articles on flights, for example, where there is no wireless coverage.
Some users give Freerange the edge in ratings for performance, in part because it allows full-feed downloads, including photos, for offline reading. Viigo, by contrast, strips out photos and other non-text files to save you from extra data charges, and also because it costs more for Viigo to deliver. [Update: However, this is a minor inconvenience: When you open the documents, Viigo calls up those stripped-out files so that you see them. The only time you won’t see them is when you’re say, on a plane, where there’s no wireless coverage. Viigo offers its service for free, whereas Freerange offers its service free for only the first ten feeds.]
Viigo has more up its sleeve. Over the next few months, the company plans to unveil a more interactive platform that lets people do things like search their surroundings with maps, find restaurants, buy tickets and other activities, according to chief executive Mark Ruddock
Viigo’s application works on Research In Motion (Blackberry) and Windows Mobile phones.
The company had 175,000 people activate its service this year, and 75 percent of those came in the last four months, Ruddock said. He wouldn’t specify how many active users the company has, but said it is in the “mid to high tens of thousands.”
Viigo doesn’t make money right now, but will also be unveiling an advertising platform soon, allowing publishers to sign up and insert advertising into the application screen.
The funding was led by Ventures West, one of Canada’s largest private venture capital companies. The company previously raised an angel round of financing, and said the total raised is $4.6 million.