Onswipe’s Jason Baptiste on Ramping Up & Reinventing Tech for Touchscreens

[Corrected, Oct. 19. See below] Talking to Jason Baptiste always reminds me of why tech entrepreneurs are in the game. And, perhaps more importantly, how they go about playing that game.

Baptiste is the co-founder and CEO of Onswipe, the New York startup that’s trying to reinvent digital content on touchscreen devices for media publishers and advertisers. The company started in 2010 and its lead venture investor, Spark Capital, is based in Boston. (Baptiste is speaking at Xconomy’s Mobile Madness New York conference on December 4.)

Just a year ago, most people (OK, at least I) thought of Onswipe as being an iPad platform for Web content and ads. More recently, the company moved into content distribution for publishers. And now it’s pushing hard on the advertising side of the business, developing a new ad-serving product that it will start showing to agencies and other customers toward the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Onswipe has broadened its platform to work on the iPhone, Kindle Fire, and Android devices, starting with the Nexus 7. (We’ll see about Windows Phone 8, due out soon.) In short, Onswipe is trying to help media companies and other publishers serve up content and ads on all touchscreen devices—taking advantage of its proprietary gesture interface that incorporates different ways of tapping and swiping on screens. “Publishers want one platform for the post-PC Web,” Baptiste says. “We’re powering how people experience information.”

These are all deft-sounding moves, but Baptiste says the company’s mission has been the same since day one: “Give away the platform for free, and monetize with beautiful branded ads.” He calls it “a 100 percent media model.” The hard work lies in talking with publishers, figuring out what they really need to optimize their sites for touchscreens, and then developing and refining the software—basically making the interface and user experience as attractive and intuitive as possible.

“We’re a touch-first company,” he says. “We believe the world is shifting from click to swipe. We should be the one powering that experience.”

When last I checked, Onswipe was pushing … Next Page »

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