O’Brien-backed Spritz close to $3.5m funding target

Businessman’s investment allows him a representative on board of Boston-based technology start-up

Spritz, a technology start-up backed by telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien, is close to sealing a $3.5 million (€2.5 million) seed fundraising round.

The Boston-based technology firm allows readers to read novels in hours by streaming words quickly and allowing them to read more easily on small devices such as smart watches or other wearables.

Spritz said it had already closed the first $1 million of this round, with backing from Mr O'Brien and a number of other angel investors, including Tom Hunersen, a former director of IBRC. Spritz has not disclosed the size of individual shareholdings in its business, but Mr O'Brien's investment gives him a position for a representative on its board.

Spritz was co-founded two years ago by serial entrepreneur Frank Waldman. Mr Hunersen became an adviser to the firm in March 2013, after the former Anglo Irish Bank was placed into liquidation.


Spritz said it had been contacted by 10,029 developers interested in incorporating its product into their businesses in only a month.

“Spritz wants to allow them take us to their clients,” Mr Hunersen said. The company plans to roll out its software development kits on March 21st.

"There has been a great deal of interest in what Spritz is doing," Mr Hunersen said. "It is pretty viral."

One billion users
"We are targeting about one billion users within a couple of years," he said, adding that the plan was for Spritz to emulate messaging service WhatsApp by giving its service away for free or for a small fee.

“We want to grow our user base: that’s our focus as a small company right now,” Mr Hunersen said. “We have ideas for how to monetise, but that’s not our focus.”

Samsung announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month that it had agreed to make Spritz's email application available on its Samsung Gear 2 watch and Galaxy S5 smartphones.

Spritz worked by streaming individual words in a special display that made it “easier, more efficient and more effective” to read text, Mr Hunersen explained.