Talkbits founder Olga Steidl

Talkbits – for iPhone and Android – works like a “walkie talkie.” Users press a button to talk, which is fed out to users around them in a live stream. As well as tuning into that stream, voice messages can be sent privately to friends. There’s also the ability to create public or private discussion groups around particular topics.


Friend-to-friend walkie talkie app Voxer is doing something similar, but Talkbits’s social discovery aspect is what sets it apart.

“The app makes it simple for people to jump in on conversations going on around them,” said CEO Olga Steidl (pictured above at the Dublin Web Summit).

The company wants the app to be useful for anything from “In a traffic jam on my way to Oxford Circus – any way out?” to “Going jogging at Central Park, want to join?” to help finding great restaurants or looking for stolen bicycles in a neighborhood.

It’s a pretty intriguing idea – and fits nicely with the mission to “unmute the web” pioneered by Berlin’s SoundCloud.

“Sound is about emotions, tone, feelings and personality,” as Talkbits’ company info states. “Voice gives more information about the person you are talking to. Voice is more intimate, quicker and easier to consume in an ambient way.”

Talkbits is previewing its app at the Dublin Web Summit and has confirmed $2m of funding from Moscow-based VC firm Runa Capital. The app’s public launch is scheduled for later this year.

Talkbits, founded in March 2012, has a team of 11 based across Russia, Germany, and Switzerland, with the development HQ in Moscow.

A version of this story previously appeared on VentureVillage, VentureBeat’s Europe-based syndication partner.

This story originally appeared on VentureVillage. Copyright 2012