Plyce is a mobile social network a la Foursquare and Gowalla. Up until now, the small Parisian startup was in “underhype mode” but is now coming out with seed funding from two high-octane French superangel funds, Jaina Capital and Kima Ventures.realising that it’s going to be hard to compete with super-funded, super-hyped Foursquare and Gowalla in the US, Plyce is focusing on Europe, and wants to be the leading European mobile social network within 3 years.
Plyce is not a Foursquare clone. Founder and CEO Martin Destagnol showed me posts from his now defunct blog dating back from 2007 sketching out the idea. Furthermore, Plyce has features that Foursquare lacks: every place on Plyce has a wall, on which people can post comments and pictures and video. You can also connect and chat with friends from inside the app. It’s also better for privacy: given that some people add people’s homes to Foursquare and check in there, Plyce includes the capacity to create “personal places”, which are only shared with your friends.
What’s also very impressive about the app is that Destagnol built it all by himself over six months: the code, the design, everything. Their database now includes over a million places all over Europe. Before he moved to professional hosting he ran the service out of an old laptop in his previous company’s offices. Unfortunately that database only includes places in Europe right now so Plyce is pretty much useless in the US.
Destagnol is a true entrepreneur’s entrepreneur: passionate, dedicated and eager to change the world. He’s now put together a small, great team to push the service forward. A new version of the app will roll out soon (I tried the beta and it’s really good). He expects to close a Series A by the end of the year and also had interest from some big name European funds, although I can’t say who.
I’m a Foursquare fan but I’m also a Plyce fan: the service is fun, really well designed, unlike Foursquare crashes much less and is much less buggy, and the extra features make it really fun. It should be interesting to see the two duke it out.
Disclosure: I’ve done some consulting work for Plyce in the past. I own no equity, however.
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