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Single-message app 'Yo' is what's up with investors after Israel boost

SAN FRANCISCO--A messaging app that allows users to send the word “Yo” to friends has discovered newfound fame and fortune.

San Francisco-based startup Yo, which got its start in Tel Aviv and moved to California after becoming a hit in Israel, boasted new backers on Friday as reports estimated its value as high as US$10 million.

Yo raised US$1.5 million in an initial round of funding that included backing from Betaworks and Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, according to co-founder and chief executive Or Arbel.

“The value of this round goes far beyond the dollar amount that we received,” Arbel said in a release.

“Bringing such incredibly smart, talented, and experienced people into the Yo team at this stage is an incredible advantage that will allow us to accelerate the growth and provide more and better value to our users.”

Betaworks explained in an online post that it was pumping cash into Yo due, in part, to a fascination with the potential of simple tools for single word smartphone notifications such as “yes” or “no.”

The Yo app has been woven into communications at Betaworks, according to founder and chief executive John Borthwick.

“We Yo with co-workers alerting them that a meeting is starting; I Yo with my wife as a 'hi' during a busy day,” Borthwick said in an online post announcing the investment.

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