Quick Pitch: Onavo helps smartphone users reduce, understand and manage their data usage.
Genius Idea: Data shrinkage.
It’s likely the coveted unlimited mobile phone data plan will soon become a relic of a simpler, less data-hungry mobile past. And yet, our data consumption will only grow exponentially on mobile as devices become more sophisticated and our lives become more centered around them.
“As a society, we’re addicted to data, especially on mobile devices,” says Guy Rosen, co-founder and CEO of Onavo. “There just isn’t the infrastructure there to see this addiction. This is how Onavo came into being.”
Onavo launched its first application for iPhone in April of this year to give mobile users transparency and control over the data they consume.
“Our mission is to empower mobile users to take back control of their mobile data,” Rosen says. “It’s a resource. You’re paying for it. You should get to decide how it’s used, when and how much.”
Onavo, says Rosen, saves you money, plain and simple. “It connects your phone to what we call the ‘magical shrinking machine.’ This means that all the data you consume on your phone is compressed … we shrink it by as much as 80%, which means you pay less.”
How Onavo shrinks your mobile data is a tightly kept secret — all Rosen reveals is that the startup has developed an array of compression techniques. The magical shrinking machine is mysteriously working away; it’s saved app users more than 6.5 million megabytes since launch. “That’s about 75 megabytes a minute,” Rosen says. “Megabytes consumed by more than 55,000 apps,” he adds.
In addition to data shrinkage, Onavo provides the iPhone user with visibility as to which of their applications are consuming the most data. The intention, says Rosen, is to inform mobile users and help them make smarter choices and ultimately save money.
Eventually, Onavo hopes to mature into an even more intelligent service that watches users’ backs as they consume mobile data.
“Today we focus … on compression. What we’re working on is to expand the level of information that we can provide to users,” says Rosen. The idea, he says, is to have an application that manages your data usage for you.
In the more immediate future, Onavo will release an Android build for beta testers. Rosen says the application will be slightly different in nature, but equally impressive.
Onavo is a venture-backed startup with $3 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Magma Venture Partners.
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.