Thanks to social networking, we all stand a chance to fall victim to a condition called FOMO, or Fear-Of Missing-Out. Induced by the influence and pervasiveness of social networking, FOMO is a person’s anxious reaction to the unavoidable flood of friends posting pictures from events, checking-in around town, and describing their busy, fulfilling lives. It’s generally the nagging feeling that you’ve regretfully misused your time.
A new startup has launched to address this, by permanently keeping you in the loop. TimeRAZOR has been in stealth mode since summer and today announced it has raised $3.4 million in funding and acquired some name recognition thanks to partnerships with L’Oreal, Renaissance Hotels, and the World Adult Kickball Association, among others.
“Our goal at timeRAZOR is to keep people connected with what’s going on around them so they don’t miss out on the things they want to do while they juggle the things they need to do,” says co-founder and CEO Jeff White. “But it isn’t just about what’s happening on your block or in your corner of the city. It’s about how our predictive technology can create convenient discovery for you around where you plan to be.”
Aside from general info regarding some impressive funding and board members (including comScore co-founder Linda Abraham), timeRAZOR is scant on the application’s details. It sounds an awful lot like a combination of Foursquare and Groupon. According to the company’s press release, the product “will help make sure people never miss out, bringing a sense of serendipity back to a highly scheduled world.”
That manufactured serendipity factor is something we’ve seen trending in the social-mobile space. The idea of creating seemingly chance moments with people and places and events is a very structured way to inject a little whimsy into social lives that are increasingly crowded by structure – an effect that is simply the nature of the beast.
And right now the apps that exist for this purpose are more for alerting you of possible one-on-one connections, or notifying you when you’re near an event or a local retailer offering a discount.
TimeRAZOR’s touting of analytical and predictive technology power piques our interest, but there are already a couple of red flags that make us think this might not amount to what we want it to be – something to combine local deals and discounts with personalized event notifications according to location, interest, and social circle (which we realize, is a lot to tackle). The first is that this has been built with brands in mind: it’s a platform for them to engage with consumers, not the other way around. It’s a way for business to find you, not really for you to find business, that’s just an added bonus. Which is fine and something a lot of social apps like this do, except that it sounds like it’s also been built to sell: White’s Twitter personal info reads:
That doesn’t necessarily matter, but it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for longevity. But it could be eaten up by the likes of Foursquare, Yelp, Google, Highlight – any number of social-local apps and products really – and improve them. On the other hand, that’s at the cost of letting one platform gobble up your data to help brands reach out to you and then being acquired so that yet another platform can profit off this. There’s just something irksome about creating something to immediately turn it over. In timeRAZOR’s defense, that’s sort of becoming the mobile and Web app M.O. [Just for fun, here are a few examples: Gowalla to Facebook; Fridge to G+; Summify to Twitter.]
We’ll be keeping an eye on timeRAZOR to see what comes of it and what other partnerships it strikes. It will be available for free for Android and iOS within the coming weeks.