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Successful developer offers three tips for winning mobile apps

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Prema Gupta, co-founder of Khush singing into a smart phone.

Prema Gupta, co-founder of Khush singing into a smart phone.

By Allan Maurer

If you’re planning to launch a mobile app, Prerna Gupta, CEO of Khush, has three tips for you.

Gupta, named one of FastCompany’s Most Influential Women in Tech 2011, founded Khush, which sells the La Di Da mobile apps sold through the iTunes store, in 2009. The app analyzes a users voice when they sing into their iPhone.

Using state-of-the-art algorithms to analyze the pitch and structure of the vocal input, it uses that information to compose a unique accompaniment in real-time that matches the song.

The app, which originally sold for $2.99, has been downloaded more than 2 million times and its demo videos on YouTube garnered more than 65 million views.

Khush, which originated as one of Atlanta-based Shotput Ventures first eight companies raised funds from Shotput, Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab, Rackspace executive Pat Matthews, 500 startups, and angel investor Yee Lee. It was acquired by sonic iPhone app firm Smule in December 2011.

Gupta is one of dozens of Internet gurus, mavens and thought-leaders headed to he Digital Summit in Atlanta May 9-10. She plans to discuss several trends in mobile app development, such as the need to build social components into apps and gaming, particularly those that are extremely social. “I’ll elaborate on what’s behind these trends and why everyone is into them,” she says.

We asked Gupta what advice she would give mobile app developers.

Three tips for mobile app developers

First, she says, “Put something out there. When you’re first starting with any type of consumer tech, the tendency is to want to make it perfect. So you keep building, keep building and don’t launch.

But the experience of putting it out there is important and will make you smarter. You learn so much when you launch and get user feedback.”

Second: “Don’t be discouraged if you’re not an overnight success. Apps that succeed right away are a small percent of those produced. The idea that if it doesn’t go viral right away you are a failure is a myth. More often, it takes several months to gain traction.

Third, “When you are creating an app, don’t cram too much on one screen, especially with the small iPhone screen size. Ask yourself, ‘what is the one thing this app is trying to do?’ Get that right. After you launch, you’ll find out what people want and add to it selectively. Don’t put 100 things in to start.

Khush, Gupta notes, added a new app called Sonify in July last year. “It did well and was the number one free app on iTunes for several weeks when it launched, which means it was number one in the world.”

New Songify app introduced last year

Songify turns speech in any language into singing. It resulted from feedback received from users of La Di Da. Users expressed some apprehension about singing, “So we wanted to take it a step further and all you have to do is talk,” she says.

We like that. People turn off the hot water in the shower if we sing.

They created the Songfiy app with a YouTube pop band, The Gregory Brothers, who are famous for taking news clips of people talking and manually editing them to make it sound like singing.

Early registration for Atlanta Digital Summit ends this week

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Digital Summit 2012The upcoming  Digital Summit in Atlanta May 9-10 offers two jam-packed days with more than 75 speakers from  Google, Twitter, Pandora, Mashable, Huffington Post, Klout, StumbleUpon, Gilt Groupe, Adobe, The Onion, YouTube, Discovery Channel and many more. You can still grab an early registration rate to the Digital Summit but only until Friday, April 13.

What will I take away? How does my company benefit?

  • With over 50 presentations and panels to choose from you’ll be up to date with the latest digital trends & best practices.
  • More than 75 speakers from brands you know & trust provide real world scenarios and solutions to the issues you face.
  • Over 7 hours of networking makes Digital Summit a excellent and effective way to connect and make important contacts with 1,500 peers & professionals.
  • 3 hours of open bar!!! (okay, perhaps your company won’t benefit… but hey, it’s a great way to break the ice).

 Check out the ROI on how Digital Summit stacks up against other conferences and see who else might be attending.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Alexis Maybank – Co-founder, Gilt Groupe
  • Joel Lunenfeld – Director of Global Brand Strategy, Twitter
  • Frederick Townes – Sr Technical Advisor, Mashable
  • Tim Mahlman – Chief Revenue Officer, Klout
  • Loni Kao Stark – Group Solutions Manager, Digital Marketing, Adobe
  • John Trimble – Chief Revenue Officer, Pandora
  • Michael Greer – Chief Product Officer, The Onion
  • Simon Heseltine – Director of SEO, AOL/Huffington Post
  • Catherine Cook – Co-founder, myYearbook
  • David Perry – Business Development, Software & Services, Google
  • Jack Krawczyk – Senior Product Marketing Manager, StumbleUpon 
  • Prerna Gupta – CEO, Khush
  • Chidi Afulezi – Product Director, Turner
  • Ro Choy – COO, Formspring
  • Tom Lowry – Director of Technology, YouTube
  • Michael Bayle – Senior Vice President, ESPN Mobile
  • Amanda Steinberg – Founder & CEO, DailyWorth
  • Ian Wolfman – Principal & CMO, imc²
  • Jeff Ragovin – Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Buddy Media
  • Matt Crenshaw – VP of Marketing & Analytics, Discovery Channel
  • Matt Peters – Co-Founder & Creative Director, Pandemic Labs
  • Laurie Hood – Vice President of Product Marketing, Silverpop
  • Bryon Morrison – President, Mobile Marketing, The Marketing Arm
  • Tony Haile – CEO, Chartbeat
  • Eric Orme – Chief Technology Officer, Remark Media
  • Kurt Krejny – Director of Online Marketing, Fathom
  • Sean Cook – CEO, ShopVisible
  • Jordan Franklin – Director of Social Strategy, Clickable
  • Grey Garner – Market Strategist, Emma
  • Barry Nelson – Social Media Analyst, Microstrategy
  • John Lawson – Founder, ColderICE.com
  • Todd Sawicki – Chief Marketing Officer, Cheezburger Network
  • Adam Harrell – Founder & President, nebo
  • Brianne Keating Forst – Director of Ecommerce, Plow & Hearth
  • Gavin Finn – President & CEO, Kaon Interactive
  • Amy Ellis – Head of Integrations & Partnerships, MailChimp
  • Kevin Lee – CEO, Didit
  • Michael Loban – CMO, InfoTrust
  • Joey Sargent – Principal, BrandSprout
  • Mick Winters – SVP, E-commerce, National Builder Supply
  • Kelly Quattlebaum – Social Media Trainer & President, Global Marcoms
  • Jenny Schmitt – President & Senior Spark, CloudSpark
  • Joseph Dickerson – User Experience Architect, Fiserv
  • Efi Rodik – Co-Founder & CEO, Relevantor
  • Richard White – Creative Director, Sojo
  • Maria Peagler – Founder, SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com
  • J Cornelius – VP Operations, CoffeeCup Software
  • Garrett Kuk – Social Media Strategy Partner, Speakeasy Media
  • Anthony Franco – President & Co-founder, EffectiveUI

Digital Summit 2012 is presented by TechMedia, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic’s Leader in Digital and Entrepreneurial Conferences. The TechJournal is a TechMedia division.

Internet Summit nears capacity crowd for top Southeast digital marketing event

Friday, November 11th, 2011
Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk keynotes the 2011 Internet Summit in Raleigh next week, which is nearly sold-out.

Fewer than 50 seats remain for next week’s Internet Summit, which is bringing hundreds of digital media and marketing thought-leaders to the Raleigh, NC Convention Center Nov. 15-16.

The event, which attracts a capacity crowd, offers take-away insight into social media marketing, search engine optimization, ecommerce trends, email marketing, we and mobile analytics, big data, cloud computing, startup fund-raising and much more.

You’ll have access to visionary thought leaders who will share their insight and experience with you.  Hear from the founders of companies like Twitpic, TheLadders & HowStuffWorks!  Not enough?  How about a Keynote from Top rated SXSW keynote and ‘Social Media King’ Gary Vaynerchuk?

That’s just a sampling of the more than 120 speakers and presenters that will be on hand.

We interviewed just a handful of the many presenters. For a preview of what thought-leaders will be presenting at the event see:

The Internet Summit’s Talented Speakers & Presenters include:

  • Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-Founder, VaynerMedia
  • Marc Cendella, Founder & CEO, TheLadders
  • Marshall Brain, Founder, HowStuffWorks
  • David Payne, Chief Digital Officer, Gannett
  • Noah Everett, Founder, TwitPic and Heello
  • Ro Choy, COO, Formspring
  • Liz Strauss, Co-founder, SOBcon & LizStrauss.com
  • Brian Hitney, Developer Evangelist, Microsoft
  • David Perry, Business Development Executive, Google
  • Jack Krawczyk, Sr Product Marketing Mgr, StumbleUpon
  • Traug Keller, Sr VP of Production, ESPN
  • Catherine Cook, Co-Founder, myYearbook
  • Eric Ranta, SVP of Value Engineering, SAP
  • Micahel Cristinziano, VP Strategic Development, Citrix
  • Doug Smith, Dir Product Management, Taleo
  • Malin Huffman, Head of Product Development, NetSuite
  • Jerry Cuomo, CTO WebSphere, IBM
  • Lee Congdon, CIO, RedHat
  • Jeff Ragovin, Chief Revenue Officer, Buddy Media
  • Peggy Fry, Chief Revenue Officer, Clearspring Technologies
  • Mike Relm, Founder, Relmvision
  • Bob Young, Founder & CEO, Lulu.com
  • Donna DeMarco, Co-Founder & VP, Viddler
  • Emily Keye, Marketing Strategist, Bronto
  • Tammy Gordon, Dir Social Communications & Strategy, AARP
  • Markus, Renstrom, Head of SEO, Yahoo!
  • Dr. Manuel Aparicio, CEO & Co-Founder, Saffon Technologies
  • Julianna DeLua, Enterprise Solutions Evangelist, Informatica
  • Tony Haile, General Manager, Chartbeat
  • Ryan Mannion, Chief Technology Officer, Politico
  • David Giambruno, SVP and CIO, Revlon
  • Gaurav Howard, Sr. Dir Product Marketing, Marketo
  • Michael Lubek, CIO, GE Global Applications
  • Angela Connor, Social Media Manager, Capstrat
  • Ryan Allis, CEO, iContact
  • Prerna Gupta, CEO, Khush
  • Kevin Dando, Dir Digital & Education Communication, PBS
  • Clint Smith, Co-Founder & CEO, Emma
  • Matt Crenshaw, VP of Marketing, Discovery Communications
  • Scott Gunter, VP of User Experience, Usability Sciences
  • Lindsay Wassell, Partner & Consultant, KeyphraSEOlogy
  • Steve Ashley, VP Internet Marketing, Market America
  • Dennis Gullitto, APM Product Marketing Manager, Compuware
  • Scott Baker, Sr. Mgr Virtualization & Cloud Engineering, NetApp
  • Jeramiah Dooley, vArchitect, VCE/Cisco Virtualization
  • Gerard Bush, Chief Creative Dir, The brpr Group
  • Ted McDonald, Analyst, Verisign
  • Rob Ousbey, VP Operations Seattle, Distilled
  • David Gudai, VP of Marketing, Storkie
  • Glenn Mersereau, Dir of Internet Marketing, PHE
  • Jim Tobin, President, Ignite Social Media
  • Kevin Pomplun, CEO, SkyGrid
  • Sherry Bastion, Web Creative Director, Lenovo
  • John Lovett, Sr Partner, Web Analytics Demystified
  • Drew Diskin, Dir of Interactive & Web Strategy, Penn Medicine
  • Lynette Montgomery, VP Ecommerce, Burt’s Bees
  • Noah Dinkin, Co-Founder & President, FanBridge
  • Jessica Bowman, SEOinhouse.com
  • Todd Moy, Sr User Experience Designer, Viget Labs
  • Donna Bedford, Global SEO Lead, Lenovo
  • Francis Shepherd, Media Evangelist
  • Dallas Lawrence, Chief Digital Strategist, Burson-Marsteller
  • Karen Albritton, President, Capstrat
  • Thuy LeDihn, Senior Marketing Manager, .ORG
  • Adam Covati, Co-founder & CTO, Argyle Social
  • Kyle Scott Richardson, Social Media, NC National Guard
  • Cara Rousseau, Social Media Manager, Duke University
  • Loren Baker, VP of Marketing, Blueglass
  • Matthew Muñoz, Partner & Chief Design Officer, New Kind
  • Jill Whalen, CEO, HighRankings
  • Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capitol Ventures
  • David Heaney, Senior Associate, TomorrowVentures
  • John Lawrence, Partner & CFO, Longworth Venture Partners
  • Brooks Raiford, CEO, NCTA
  • Roger Krakoff, Managing Partner, Cloud Capital Partners
  • Charles Nicholls, Chief Strategy Officer, SeeWhy
  • Jeff Campbell, VP & Co-Founder, Resolution Media
  • Gary Storr, Business Architect & Solutions, Nortel
  • Jeff Spivey, VP Board of Directors, ISACA
  • Doug Hanna, CEO, A Small Orange
  • Lisa, Braziel, Strategy Director, Ignite Social Media
  • William Blackmon, CEO, LinkMein
  • Chris Condayan, Public Outreach, Am Society for Microbiology
  • Kyle Scott Richardson, Dir of Social Media, NC National Guard
  • Jill Carlson, Marketing Manager, Argyle Social
  • John Lane, VP Strategy & Creative, Centerline Digital
  • Michael , Gowan, Associate Dir of Web Strategy, Duke Medicine
  • Dana Kirchman, SVP Head of Client Operations, Lumi Mobile

Internet Summit is an outstanding learning experience mixed with  prime networking opportunities and entertaining keynotes.

There’s even 5 additional hours of intense session digging deep into Social Media, SEO & Search, User Experience & Design and Analytics when you add the pre-conference to your registration.

Smartphone app market to hit $15B in a year

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

smartphonesBy 2013, the smart phone applications market is expected to surpass $15 billion, up from $1.94 billion in 2009, according to research2guidance. The surge will be attributed to the dramatic increase in the amount of smart phone users, which should top 1 billion in 2013.

Plenty of companies are benefiting from this increase in attention, like Glu Mobile makers of original games like Beat It! And Brain Genius toNetSuite who gears its applications towards financial and customer management needs.

The smartphone/tablet app market is easier to break into for startups and provides a quicker route to revenue than many other tech opportunities. We reported on the Atlanta startup, Khush, which has a smartphone app that adds music to your voice when you sing a tune.

Khush CEO Prerna Gupta is among 120 top digital gurus presenting at the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 15-16.

There are also niche markets emerging, Vringo, Inc (NYSE Amex: VRNG) recently unveiled its Facetones application via Verizon V CAST Apps. This application creates an automated video slideshow using friends’ photos from social media websites and photo sites and then plays this video slideshow as the phone rings.

Applications are making their way into traditional areas of business as well, The Allstate Corp., which operates in most facets of insurance allows users of their applications to do everything from get policy and claim information to pay their bill and receive accident support.

According to a semi-annual survey, CTIA found that there are 327.6 million wireless subscriber connections, an increase of 9 percent from mid-year 2010, when that number was at 292.8 million. Of that number, 95.8 million are smart phones and wireless enabled PDAs. For the first time, the number of wireless subscriber connections has surpassed the U.S. population.

 

Internet Summit bringing 120 digital gurus to Raleigh Nov. 15-16

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Interent Summit 2011TechMedia’s Internet Summit 2011 at the Raleigh, NC Convention Center Nov. 15-16  is jam-packed with top level content focused on the latest digital trends, online marketing techniques and IT best practices at the largest digital event in the Southeast.
 
The Internet Summit features two full days of learning mixed with awesome parties, great networking and entertaining keynotes.  Here’s a sampling of topics that will be addressed:

  • Online Video
  • Cloud Panel
  • Ecommerce Trends
  • Reputation Management
  • Security/Risk Management
  • Startup Strategies
  • Enterprise 3.0 Panel
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Analytics
  • Advanced SEO
  • Big Data
  • Measuring Social
  • Design
  • Paid Search
  • CIO/CTO Panel
  • Online Advertising
  • Location Marketing
  • Marketing Through Facebook & Twitter
  • Virtualization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Internet Entrepreneurship Panel
  • and much more.

Hear from the founders of companies like Gowalla, TheLadders, Twitpic & HowStuffWorks!  Not enough?  How about a Keynote from Top rated SXSW keynote and ‘Social Media King’ Gary Vaynerchuk? That’s just a sampling of the over 120 speakers and presenters that will be on hand.

Early confirmed presenters include:
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-Founder, VaynerMedia 
  • Josh Williams, Co-founder & CEO, Gowalla 
  • Mac Cendella, Founder & CEO, The Ladders 
  • Marshall Brain, Founder, How Stuff Works 
  • David Perry, Business Development Executive, Google
  • Liz Strauss, Co-founder, SOBcon & LizStrauss.com 
  • Noah Everett, Founder, TwitPic and Heello 
  • Jack Krawczyk, Sr Product Marketing Mgr, StumbleUpon 
  • Traug Keller, Sr VP of Production, ESPN
  • Jeff Ragovin, Chief Revenue Officer, Buddy Media 
  • Peggy Fry, Chief Revenue Officer, Clearspring Technologies
  • Mike Relm, Founder, Relmvision 
  • Bob Young, Founder & CEO, LuLu.com
  • Donna DeMarco, Co-Founder & VP, Viddler 
  • Ryan Mannion, Chief Technology Officer, Politico 
  • Fran Maier, President & Executive Chair, TRUSTe
  • Jerry Cuomo, CTO WebSphere, IBM
  • Prerna Gupta, CEO, Khush
  • Kevin Dando, Dir Digital & Education Communication, PBS
  • Clint Smith, Co-Founder & CEO, Emma
  • Matt Crenshaw, VP of Marketing, Discovery Communications
  • Scott Gunter, VP of User Experience, Usability Sciences 
  • Lindsay Wassell, Partner & Consultant, KeyphraSEOlogy 
  • Steve Ashley, VP Internet Marketing, Market America 
  • Gerard Bush, Chief Creative Dir, The brpr Group 
  • Rob Ousbey, VP Operations Seattle, Distilled 
  • David Gudai, VP of Marketing, Storkie 
  • Glenn Mersereau, Dir of Internet Marketing, PHE
  • Jim Tobin, President, Ignite Social Media
  • Kevin Pomplun, CEO, SkyGrid 
  • Sherry Bastion, Web Creative Director, Lenovo 
  • John Lovett, Sr Partner, Web Analytics Demystified
  • Drew Diskin, Dir of Interactive & Web Strategy, Penn Medicine 
  • Lynette Montgomery, VP Ecommerce, Burt’s Bees 
  • Noah Dinkin, Co-Founder & President, FanBridge 
  • Jessica Bowman, SEOinhouse.com
  • David Gudai, VP of Marketing, Storkie
  • Todd Moy, Sr User Experience Designer, Viget Labs
  • Donna Bedford, Global SEO Lead, Lenovo
  • Francis Shepherd, Media Evangelist
  • Dallas Lawrence, Chief Digital Strategist, Burson-Marsteller
  • Thuy LeDihn, Senior Marketing Manager, .ORG
  • Adam Covati, Co-founder & CTO, Argyle Social
  • Chris Condayan, American Society for Microbiology
  • Kyle Scott Richardson, Social Media, NC National Guard
  • Cara Rousseau, Social Media Manager, Duke University
  • Loren Baker, VP of Marketing, Blueglass
  • Matthew Munoz, Partner & Chief Design Officer, New Kind
  • Jill Whalen, CEO, HighRankings
Register today to secure your seat!

Now you can use your iPhone as a personal back-up band

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

By Allan Maurer

Lot’s of us like to sing, but most of us confine our warbling to the shower or singing to the radio in the car. Now, however, thanks to a “reverse karaoke” application for the iPhone developed by Atlanta-based Khush, you can sing into your iPhone and play it back with the kinds of vocal effects that make professionals sound so hot.

Using artificial intelligence, the application, called LaDiDa, analyzes the voice of the person singing into the phone and plays it back with appropriate music.

Prerna Gupta

Love to sing? There’s an app for that. Khush CEO Prerna Gupta sings into her iPhone demonstrating the LaDiDa application.

Prerna Gupta, Khush CEO, chatted with us and demonstrated the application in the lobby of the Atlanta Technology Development Center.

One of Shotput Venture’s firms

Gupta, who says, “I’ve been singing my whole life,” sounded good without any backing. She sang some instantly made-up lyrics into her iPhone, and seconds later, played it back with perfect musical accompaniment.

(Here’s a demonstration see: How it works); for a duet of her singing a Bollywood tune with inventor of the technology Dr. Parag Chorida, director of the Georgia Tech Music Intelligence Lab and Gupta’s spouse, see Bollywood Duet.

The Music Intelligence Lab is working on some of the most unusual projects we’ve heard about anywhere.

LaDiDa

LaDiDa is the first product made by Khu.sh

Khush was founded in May 2009 as one of Shotput Ventures first class of eight companies. It raised a total so far of about $129,000 from a Shotput seed investment, a grant from Georgia Tech’s VentureLab, and an angel investment from Rackspace executive Pat Matthews.

LaDiDa is the company’s first product, but likely won’t be its last. It’s already selling briskly through the Apple iTunes store where it sells for $3 and Apple takes a buck of that.

The technology for the application took about two semesters to develop and commercializing it through the iTunes store took only two months.

We can all make music

Gupta says the app “Really pushes what the iPhone can do.” It required considerable testing to get something complicated but light.

Everyone of the eight people on the Khush team have credentials in both music and technology, Gupta tells us.

KhushBut many of the rest of us may not be so well trained when it comes to belting out a tune. When we used to do live karaoke, we warned the audience, “People turn off the hot water in the shower when we sing.”

State-of-the-art algorithms analyze the pitch and structure of the vocal input, and use that information to compose a unique accompaniment in real-time that matches the song. Khush is also working on pitch and tempo detection algorithms to help novice singers sound better.

A weird blip in music history

The application uses pitch correction and reverb features to help those who are not natural vocalists.

“Giving people the vocal effects all the musicians use now makes a big difference,” says Gupta.

Khush’s in-house composer, Alex Rae, has developed a collection of rich sounds arranged into different styles, such as E Piano Pop, Rhythm Synth Pop, Dub Tone, Underground Rap, Tasty Breaks and Dirty South.

Interviewing Prerna Gupta

TechView Atlanta reporter interviewing Prerna Gupta at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta.

”The last 50 years are a weird blip in music history,” says Gupta. Most of the music made in the last five decades has been by professionals.

“But look back and before that, people were making music from the time they were small children. This technology can help people tap back into that very natural thing. You just use your voice and create professional sounding music. I think we’ll see a major transformation over the next ten years.”

Gupta says LaDiDa’s goal is to develop an ecosystem in which artists can sell their styles and generate revenues from their musical content.

”Khush” is a Hindu word that means “happy,” and Gupta says it is appropriate for her company because, “Music is one of the fundamental things that make people happy.”

Reprinted from our sister publication, www.TechViewAtlanta.com

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