Yo and Washboard kick off silly season for startups (Wired UK)

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Yo. Have you heard about it? It’s been pretty hard to miss. For
those who don’t know what I’m taking about, it’s a mobile messaging
app for iOS and Android that only lets you send one message:
“Yo.”


Shutterstock


Essentially it’s what would happen if Facebook’s short-lived
separate app just for poking hadn’t rightfully died in May. Over
the last few days, it’s attracted a lot of attention and –
ludicrously — raised $1 million (£600,000) in VC funding.

In the flurry of attention, it’s been experiencing a few
security issues. OK, some major flaws: a Georgia Tech student
claims to have hacked Yo in a way that lets him access any Yo
user’s mobile number and spoof messages from any of the users.
Meanwhile a Vine user
called Hako has published a video
of the app playing a sample
of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up instead of the regular
“Yo!” sound, accompanied by the message: “I think I broke Yo”.

Founder Or Arbel confirmed to TechCrunch that Yo had some vulnerabilities. “Some of the stuff
has been fixed and some we are still working on.” 

Security issues or no security issues, Yo is being downloaded an
awful lot: 160,000 times since it launched. But it’s a punchline,
not a business. We are filing it alongside gimmicks like Crazy Frog
rather than the likes of Uber and WhatsApp, but happy to be proven
wrong. It’s certainly not the only one-button app to attract crazy
downloads: a Britain’s Got Talent voting app with a single red
button attracted 1.5 million installs in 10 weeks in the UK
too. 

Either way, we think it’s definitely silly season for startups.
Second on our radar this week was Washboard, a company that sends
you coins in the post so you can do your laundry. It will send you
$20 of quarters for $26.99. That’s right, there’s a 35 percent
markup on money. 

Team Washboard says that getting
change for using in the launderette can be “the biggest pain
point”. “Banks have long lines and close early. Grocery and
convenience stores aren’t always willing to give out more than a
few dollars worth of quarters at a time. We put getting quarters on
autopilot so you never have to worry about it again.” 

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Maybe I don’t get it because we don’t have such as laundrette
culture over in the UK, but I need to draw upon a large part of the
FBI’s Twitter shorthand list to
express my WTFery
. While we appreciate the pun potential around
“money laundering”, AYFKMWTS? 

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20 June 2014 | 11:47 am – Source: wired.co.uk
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