Indian grads app becomes a huge hit after Steve Jobs' praises

Bangalore: "That was really special. We got the biggest stamp of approval we could have gotten," says Akshay Kothari Co-founder and CEO of Alphonso Labs, which produced the Pulse app, referring to the endorsement from Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. The young Indian grads from Stanford University saw a significant boost when the Apple Guru heaped praises upon their iPad application at the Apple Developers Conference. Pulse is an elegant news reading application for iPhone, iPad and Android devices created by Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta. This mobile application aggregates news from numerous websites and is one of the top-selling news apps for the iPad and iPhone. Its Android app allows users to assemble content from as many as 60 publications. Users also can touch a link that takes them to the actual publication's website.

The company has launched version 2.0 of their Pulse News Reader for iPad. The revised version, Pulse 2.0 expanded to 60 sources of news across five pages, or 12 feeds per page. It is also designed in a way that the user can manage news feed sources. Another interesting feature in the new version called "Pulse Bazaar", provides a way to browse and discover good news sources that you didn't know about. As of now, Pulse 2.0 is an iPad-only app. It is expected that the company will release a new version for the iPhone and Android platforms in the coming weeks.

The idea was sparked at a Stanford course called 'Launch Pad' for aspiring entrepreneurs in which challenge was to create a product in the course of 11 weeks. "The first week of class, we decided we're going to do something for our iPads, and we released our app in six weeks," Kothari said. After the success of the app, Alphonso Labs now has six full-time employees and is moving to an office space of its own.

Although the company had a short period of trouble when Apple removed Pulse from the store following complaints of infringement by the New York Times, it was later reinstated upon clarifying that Pulse is essentially an RSS reader and does no scraping.It is also reported that Alphonso Labs has raised $1 million in seed funding from Redpoint Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Mayfield Fund and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

The Pulse app for iPad costs $1.99 and 99 cents for the iPhone and mobile Android devices. However, the company declined to disclose revenue figures. The biggest competitor for Pulse is Flipboard which also has got great reviews for its products.