Thought this was a great article on a very cool new technology! ..
Written by Sara Castellanos Technology Reporter- Boston Business Journal , May 7, 2014, 3:54pm EDT
French startup that lets users tag texts with scents will open office in Cambridge
A French startup that has developed technology that lets users attach scents — such as coffee aromas — to text messages, will move most of its employees from Paris to Cambridge in October.
Vapor Communications, founded last September, plans to have about eight employees in Cambridge and hire more after raising a Series A funding round this fall, said Harvard University professor David Edwards, who helped invent the technology.
Vapor Communications has raised $1.3 million in funding, backed by personal investments from those including Todd Dagres, founder and general partner of Boston-based VC firm Spark Capital, and Terry McGuire, co-founder and general partner at Waltham-based VC firm Polaris Partners.
Using a combination of hardware and software, Vapor Communications allows users to attach 32 different scents to text messages, making 300,000 combinations of unique aromas. The first two categories of aromas will be coffee and food, Edwards said.
“Think about all the food and coffee blogging and texting and chatting that occurs,” Edwards said in an email. “Imagine you could easily associate a simple or complex scent to the image and share that. It’s a much fuller and more exciting message. More experience is shared.”
The technology could also have wide-ranging implications for retailers’ bottom lines, he said.
“From a (coffee retailer) perspective, imagine being able to enter a cafe, or buy coffee online, and be able to smell the coffees before you purchase them,” he said in the email. “Easier choices, better marketing, better experience. This is the kind of early use we expect.”
The hardware, called the oPhone, contains small cartridges with aromatic material that communicates with an app on an iPhone, according to the company. The oPhone will begin pre-selling on Indiegogo at a retail price of $149 beginning in June, and the company aims to sell 1,000 units to raise money for mass production, Edwards said.
In the future, people will be able to create their own scents or “record” scents to tag with photos, he said.
The company will maintain a presence in Paris, though a spokeswoman said it’s unclear how many employees will be based there.