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Happier, startup dedicated to the quest for happiness, finds funding along the way

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 26, 2012 08:00 AM

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Less than three years after a Philadelphia startup called Happier.com went kaput trying to build a website and a mobile app to help people live happier lives, a Boston startup called Happier is building a website and mobile app to do the same thing... and obviously hoping for a rosier ending.

The new Happier was co-founded by Nataly Kogan, right, formerly of PayPal Boston, and Colin Plamondon, a co-founder of Spreadsong, developer of a popular book app for the iPhone. And it has raised a seed round of funding from two Boston investors: Mike Hirshland at Resolute.vc and Mike Tyrell of Venrock.

Kogan didn't want to say much about the five-person startup, headquartered in Boston's Fort Point Channel neighborhood, but she did mention that its first product, a mobile app, is due out in November. The startup is hiring. And while Happier raised its seed round over the summer, Kogan is continuing to meet with venture capitalists locally.

Here's how the company describes its mission:

Happier is a happiness company. (Yep, you read that right.)

We're inspired by tons of scientific research showing that focusing on the positive and staying connected to people you care about makes you happier, healthier, and more productive.

Our first mobile app encourages people to find happy moments in every day, share them with friends and family, and get inspired to do more of what makes them happier. Our big bold vision is to be THE company that makes millions of people happier...

The prior incarnation of Happier.com, based in Philly and D.C., had raised just north of $2 million. It had relied on a mix of advertising and a premium monthly subscription offering for revenue. (Kogan and Plamondon acquired the URL from that company's investors.)

As it happens, after the old Happier folded, co-founder Andrew Rosenthal came to Boston to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School. "My hope is that Nataly and her team will be able to hit it out of the ballpark," Rosenthal told me last night. "It's exciting to see people using technology to bring this research to a wider population."

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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