VENICE, Calif., Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Laffster, a new startup that helps optimize discovery and personalization around everything funny online, including videos, articles and more, today announced "Mock the Vote," a free iPhone mobile app that delivers humorous up-to-the-minute takes on political news, including content and curation from partners like the POLIPOP! Network at Maker Studios—studio for Bad Lip Reading and others—and The New Yorker's Cartoon Editor as well as from satirical sources such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and The Onion.
The company also disclosed that it raised a $750,000 first round of seed funding from Greylock Partners, former LinkedIn vice president Adam Nash, Maker Studios' Chris Williams and Howard Lindzon of StockTwits, among other investors.
Laffster is the latest startup graduate to emerge from the Santa Monica-based accelerator MuckerLab. It brings unique technology to third-party platforms, as well as its own web and mobile apps.
It is the brainchild of CEO and co-founder Dan Altmann, formerly of InterActive Corp, parent company to CollegeHumor, and co-founders, chief technology officer Geoff Plitt and Eric Posen, chief product officer. Ex-Google engineer Plitt is also a standup comedian.
The trio's idea was borne of their own experiences searching for online humor, specifically funny videos which, according to Pew Research, account for the majority of online video content watched. "Unlike with music, which has discovery platforms like Pandora and Songza, when we wanted to laugh we had to visit 10 different sites to find just one video that we found funny," Posen said.
After all leaving their full-time positions, the founders set out to build a technology that could solve this discovery problem and drive users to find what makes them laugh in a personalized way. Built in conjunction with humor-focused researchers at schools like Dartmouth and UC Boulder as well as humor-focused writers at publications like The New Yorker , Laffster optimizes users' discovery around the massive and, especially during this political season the growing amounts of humorous online content.
"We know everyone has a unique sense of humor," Posen continued. "We simply wanted to drive our technology and discovery tools around that concept." Added Altmann, "[Mock the Vote] was inspired by the fact that "nearly one-third of Americans 40 and younger see satirical sources like Colbert and Stewart taking the place of traditional news."
The app, which shows the political leaning of each piece of content and allows users to pick a side themselves (or stay neutral), features original content and contributed content from Bob Mankoff, New Yorker Cartoon Editor, and TPM, Vox Media's Callie Schweitzer, partners feeding original content like Maker Studios (studio responsible for Bad Lip Reading, Baracks Dubs and Juice Rap News) as well as agreggated content from Buzzfeed, The Onion, Huffington Post, SNL, Stewart, Colbert and more.
Laffster will continue to build out future apps and develop technology to fuel discovery and optemize content with partners on third-party platforms, with today's announced initial $750,000 funding, which in addition to Greylock, Nash, Williams and Lindzon includes investments from Samer Hamadeh, Founder of Vault.com and Zeel.com and Entrepreneur in Residence at Lightspeed Ventures, Chris Grey, Co-Founder and CFO and COO of CapLinked, and Jumio's Sonny Singh.
Laffster also has received additional funding from The Paradigm Agency, which represents actors Neil Patrick Harris, Sharon Stone and Julie Bowen of Modern Family, as well as JP Williams at Parallel Entertainment, a large comedian management company that represents popular performers like Jeff Foxworthy and popular Comedy Central roaster, Lisa Lampanelli.
"Laffster is thinking about comedy and video in a way that just makes sense…simple, organized, on-call and funny," StockTwits Lindzon said. "When I first met Daniel [Altmann] and his co-founders, I instantly liked their hustle, insights and vision for the vertical. They have put together a great team of developers and investors to attack some solutions for consumers to make consuming hilarious videos fast, easy and repeatable."
Laffster is a Winter 2012 graduate of the Santa Monica-based MuckerLab, a mentorship-driven startup accelerator focused on serving Internet software, services and media entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and broader Southern California.
Laffster takes the massive, scattered world of humorous content online and drives personalization and discovery around it like never before. Powering both its own web and mobile apps as well as discovery and content optemization on third-party platforms, Laffster's technology was built in conjunction with a wide variety of researchers and scholars in humor, including neuroscientists and psychologists at schools like Dartmouth College and the University of Colorado, as well as Bob Mankoff Cartoon Editor of "The New Yorker." Headquartered in Venice, CA, Laffster is a graduate of MuckerLab. Seed investors include Greylock Partners, Adam Nash (LinkedIn), Chris Williams (Maker Studios) and Howard Lindzon (StockTwits'). For more information visit http://www.laffster.com,facebook.com/laffster, twitter.com/laffster, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MuckerLab is a privately funded startup accelerator focused on incubation-stage Internet software, services and media ventures in the Los Angeles market. Based on a mentorship-driven model, MuckerLab provides entrepreneurs with funding, puts them through a structured, three-month-long program and gives them access to a deep network of top-tier mentors and advisors. MuckerLab works side-by-side with Southern California's best technology entrepreneurs to enable them to build, launch, and finance their exceptional businesses, while helping to cultivate a more vibrant technology ecosystem in Los Angeles. For more information, go to http://www.muckerlab.com, twitter.com/muckerlab.