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Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Home automation, location-based iPhone apps chosen for funding

An application that will allow you to control your household appliances and another for finding out what's going on around your current location are the first two pieces of iPhone software to receive funding under the iFund.

BusinessWeek reports that fund managers at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have received submissions from 1,700 startups hoping to vie for a slice of the $100 million iFund, announced this past March at Apple's iPhone Software Roadmap event.

The venture capital firm has thus far funded just two of those companies, made an offer to a third, and is presently considering funding for another ten.

Pelago, a developer of on-the-go lifestyle applications, was reportedly the first to see funding for an iPhone version of its Whrrl application. By leveraging the mapping capabilities of the iPhone and other smartphones, the software tries to make it easy to find information about places and businesses within close proximity to a user's current geographical location.

"Say you're lost in Las Vegas and need a restaurant recommendation. With iPhone in hand, you can scan the locations of nearby restaurants, just Italian restaurants, or just those recommended by foodie friends," BusinessWeek explains. "Or you could search for the highest-rated bars or kid-friendly activities recommended by friends from your social network."

Joining Pleago as the only other company to receive an iFund grant at this time is iControl, makers of home automation software that would give iPhone users remote control over air conditioners, lighting, window shades, and so forth.

iControl for iPhone

iControl for iPhone should let you kill the lights from the dent in your couch.


Not all third-party developers authoring iPhone applications for distribution over Apple's upcoming App Store are necessarily in need of funding. The same report notes that Loopt, which offers software that lets mobile users see the proximity of their friends, will announce deals with more mobile providers at "an upcoming event."

BusinessWeek echos the popular notion that June 9th, the first day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, will see the unveiling of the company's much anticipated 3G iPhone. It may also offer a preview of one or more of the aforementioned applications.