Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Bump Technologies Founders Talk About Platforms, APIs and Showing the iPhone and Android How to Get Along

Earlier this week, BoomTown motored down to Mountain View, Calif., to yet another cookie-cutter office park to visit what I consider one of the more interesting and innovative start-ups around Silicon Valley of late.

Bump Technologies has definitely gotten a lot of attention, mostly due to the gimmicky feel of the service, which allows users to swap a wide range of data–contacts, photos and soon, much more–when they tap two phones together.

There have been lots of versions of this kind of thing over the years, of course, using a variety of technologies. But the surge in smartphone popularity and app use has made digitally enabled physical transactions a whole lot easier.

These days, even competing operating systems, like those for the Apple (AAPL) iPhone and Google (GOOG) Android devices, can “bump” in a much nicer way than they are currently doing as companies.

Bump does more than just offer a cute way for hipsters to trade phone numbers. When thought of as a technology platform that can be used by a variety of players, Bump gets much more interesting.

In fact, the company just launched a new API for Android and the iPad this week, to allow developers to more easily implement Bump technology with their own apps.

Bump already had an existing iPhone API and big services, such as PayPal, have deployed it to allow users to bump payments to one other. Others are using Bump to move music from one mobile phone to another.

Some top investors certainly find it all promising, including Ram Shriram, Ron Conway and Sequoia Capital, who have added $3 million to Bump’s kitty since its start last year as a Y Combinator company founded by CEO David Lieb, Andy Huibers and Jake Mintz.

Here is an interview I did with Lieb and Mintz at Bump’s offices about where Bump is headed:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik