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MOBILE & TELECOMMUNICATIONS | Mobile Software & Services / Location-Based & Navigation
highlig.ht

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Stage

Acq - Talent | Acquired

Total Raised

$4M

About Highlight

Highlight, offered by Math Camp, is a location-based mobile app, integrated through Facebook, that sends notifications when friends or people who share common interests are nearby.

Highlight Headquarter Location

25 Maiden Lane

San Francisco, California, 94108,

United States

Latest Highlight News

Clubhouse cofounder Paul Davison had another hit social app in 2011. He explains why it failed.

Apr 7, 2021

On Tuesday night's taping of the NPR podcast "How I Built This," Davison told the story of his first buzzy consumer social app — and why it eventually failed. Davison and Ben Garrett cofounded Highlight in 2011, hoping to create serendipity in everyday life. Users would sign in through Facebook and let the app run in the background, alerting them whenever a friend, or even just a stranger with common interests, was nearby. Davison gave the example of being at a party and talking to someone new, only to realize that you have a mutual friend or the same hobby. "That's this moment of connection, it brings you closer together," he said. "Those moments are around us all the time. They're everywhere. We don't realize how common they are, because we've never had the ability to surface them in this sort of ambient way. "   Highlight was his answer to this — his way of creating more happy coincidences. The app won over VCs, raising roughly $5.5 million over two rounds and scoring investment from firms like Slow Ventures and Benchmark, according to Crunchbase. But it wasn't until 2012 at South by Southwest that Highlight really blew up. The Austin festival is famous for popularizing tech startups— both Twitter and Foursquare essentially got their start there — and Highlight was that year's hit. The app made headlines even before the event began, and people used Highlight over the weekend to make new connections. With a spike in users and a media frenzy, it seemed like Highlight was poised to be the next big thing. "Far from it," Davison said. "We always knew we had a lot of work to do." First, there were the technical challenges. Over the course of a day, the app used up about 60% of a phone's battery life, Davison said. "I know a lot of people who didn't even try the app just because they had heard it decreased battery life," Brenden Mulligan wrote for TechCrunch. However, there was a greater obstacle: as NPR's host Guy Raz put it, the concept was a bit "creepy." Although you'd only get information from people who opted into the app, the public had privacy concerns. "It's very hard to know exactly what information to share with exactly which people in exactly which contexts," Davison said. "It's a very challenging product to build." Eventually these challenges proved insurmountable, and the app was sold to Pinterest in 2016. "I was so emotionally attached to it and it was such a part of my identity," he said. "It was really hard to give up on it." Four years later, Davison struck gold again by cofounding Clubhouse with Rohan Seth. He insists that, even with success, he hasn't forgotten his lessons from Highlight's failure. "I got a lot of humility and gratitude from having built a lot of products that didn't work," he said. This time around, Davison says they're focused on "the things that matter," like developing new features quickly and prioritizing the app's community. And, although Highlight is no more, Davison mused that maybe Clubhouse and his former startup are more similar than he realized. "They're both about connecting people," he said. Clubhouse did not respond to a request for comment. Was this article valuable for you?

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Research containing Highlight

Get data-driven expert analysis from the CB Insights Intelligence Unit.

CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned Highlight in 73 CB Insights research briefs, most recently on Aug 31, 2021.

Expert Collections containing Highlight

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Highlight is included in 2 Expert Collections, including Smart Money VCs (2017-2019).

S

Smart Money VCs (2017-2019)

6,297 items

We crunched the data to identify the 24 VC firms with the best combination of portfolio valuations and investment outcomes.

P

Portfolio Company Matchmaking M&A

389 items

Companies that have raised since 2009 that were acquired by one of their investors other portfolio companies

Highlight Patents

Highlight has filed 3 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Cell biology
  • Clusters of differentiation
  • Immunology
patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

Status

12/23/2019

12/22/2020

Transcription factors, Clusters of differentiation, Cell biology, Molecular biology, Immunology

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Application Date

12/23/2019

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Grant Date

12/22/2020

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Related Topics

Transcription factors, Clusters of differentiation, Cell biology, Molecular biology, Immunology

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Status

Grant

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