Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Novelty? Sure. Business? Could Be! Stickybits Raises Another $1.6 Million.

Stickybits is the kind of thing that might make more sense if you’re not entirely sober: It’s a funky, practical-joke-from-the-future concept that involves stickers, scannable bar codes and geo-tagging.

It might also be a business. That’s the hope of investors who have just plowed $1.6 million into the six-man operation, which launched a few months ago.

First Round Capital and Lower Case Capital are putting new money into the company, along with existing investors Mitch Kapor and Polaris Venture Partners, who previously invested $300,000. Stickybits is also touting the arrival of semi-celebrity angel investor Chris Sacca.

Again, explaining Stickybits takes a bit of work, and it may be easier if you’re drinking beer instead of coffee. Time.com did a fairly concise job, though: Using an Apple (AAPL) iPhone or Google (GOOG) Android, “users can scan barcodes, attach a piece of information–either a video, note or audio recording–and receive a notification whenever someone else scans the same object. Stickybits also produces unique, one-off barcodes of its own that, when attached to a postcard, for example, add digital memory to static objects.”

So that sort of sounds fun, and there might even be some commercial applications: You can see how marketers might want to play around with tagging the bar codes on the stuff they sell, etc.

Founder Billy Chasen, a graduate of the Betaworks start-up incubator, says the company intends to court those commercial customers, via privileged access to its API, as well as a dashboard they could use to manage their bar codes.

But Chasen says his company won’t be consumed with consumer marketers. “It’s not going to turn into something where it’s just a tool for brands,” he says. “We want it to be fun.”

Cool! In the meantime, Stickybits is generating a couple dollars by selling those personalized barcode stickers. I bet someone has already slapped one on a bong.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus