Berlin-based Bllock has raised $2 million in a new funding round led by Vienna’s Speedinvest and supported by Softbank via its early-stage fund Emerge. The new cash will help the company bump up the technical team numbers as well as drive user acquisition of its flagship offering: Ratio. To date, the software/hardware maker has raised a total of $3.6 million.
After initially hitting the market with a fully-fledged smartphone, specifically designed to reduce distractions and provide, “productivity superpowers,” Blloc founders Adham Badr and Mladen Hoyss quickly noted that users were more in favour of a software-only experience.
Taking this feedback on board, Blloc shifted focus, and today is flying under the banner of its flagship product Ratio, a reimagining of what a smartphone home screen can, and in the eyes of Blloc, should be: Ratio.
Radically reshaping the home screen real-estate market, the app auto-organises apps and culls WhatsApp, SMS, Telegram, Signal, FB Messenger, and Instagram messages into one unified inbox.
"Since the mid-2000's the look and feel of most smartphones has changed surprisingly little. If you think about how your apps are displayed, home screens haven’t changed much since Blackberry hit the market,” comments Badr. “We still use home screens and app notifications designed to grab users’ attention and maximize engagement with them. From the moment you unlock your phone in the morning, to when you put it down at night, your phone is designed to distract you. We’re changing that.”
And apparently, the company has struck a winning chord, as Ratio has seen over 600,000 installs since launching just over a year ago.
In addition to Speedinvest and Softbank’s support Blloc also counts consumer experts including Rainfall Ventures (Robinhood, Casper, Webflow), Ian Hogarth (co-founder of Songkick), Martin Sinner (co-founder of Idealo), Vital Laptenok (co-founder of BetterMe), Milosh Citakovic (co-founder of Evermed), Aaron Windfield (co-founder of Pippa), and Vladimir Vukicevic (co-founder of Better&Better) amongst its backers.
“Given the frequency of our daily interactions, home screens are one of the most undisrupted spaces of digital real estate in our lives today. Distraction and disorganization on our phones has gone unaddressed and Blloc’s beautifully designed app and vision has us really excited for the company’s potential as we see the trend towards mindfulness and increased productivity,” concludes Speedinvest’s Michael Schuster.