Connect, a San Francisco start-up that helps consumers manage their social networking and mobile messaging contacts, has raised $10.3 million in a funding round led by the venture arm of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International. Connect Chief Executive Ryan Allis said the investment from Fosun’s Kinzon Capital would help to expand his product’s reach in Asia as rival messaging services such as Tencent’s WeChat amass vast numbers of users in the region.
For social networking companies, this may go down as the year of the app split. Facebook carved out the messaging function from its flagship app to push people to use the standalone Facebook Messenger. Foursquare split its app in two, removing its signature check-in feature from the default app. And Twitter teased plans to put out more standalone apps, some of which may take content from the main app, and package it for different use cases. But not everyone is a fan of this strategy. Ryan Allis, a serial entrepreneur, is betting that what users want is more — not less — in their social apps. At the beginning of this year, Allis launched a new app called Connect, which syncs up with the major social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn and email — to create a “living” address book of your contacts across platforms. It also maps out the locations of your friends’ homes and places they’ve posted from.