'Social TV' Startup Philo Announces Funding, Apps

Philo, a startup that has developed a social-media platform to let TV fans chat about their favorite shows, has raised an undisclosed amount of financing from institutional and angel investors.

The privately held company's investors include North Bridge Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham Ventures, ENIAC Ventures and television producer Stephen Lambert (whose credits include Wife Swap and Undercover Boss).

"We have spent a lot of time in the digital media space and are big believers in the future of social and interactive television," North Bridge principal Dayna Grayson said in a statement.

Los Angeles-based Philo has fewer than 10 employees and debuted its first application last month. The company hopes to sign deals with programmers to promote TV shows or series.

Philo CEO David Levy, based in New York, previously co-founded Tigerbow, a company that facilitates shipping gifts to e-mail recipients, and worked in investment banking for firms including ING Barings/Furman Selz and Chase/H&Q.

Philo also announced version 1.2 of its free iPhone and iPod Touch app, which lets users comment on shows that have been recorded on DVR as well as live programming. In addition, Philo debuted its social TV Web application, available at www.playphilo.com.

With the new iPhone/iPod push notifications, when friends tune in, users receive alerts even if they're not currently logged in to Philo. The app's activity stream lets users see how their friends and other viewers are tuning in, commenting and earning credits.