From chip makers to mobile phone giants to tiny upstarts, location-based services are seen as the wireless world’s pot of gold. Among those looking to dip into that pot is Geodelic, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup that this week announced $3.5 million in funding from Clearstone Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures. Even more impressive is the fact that Geodelic has partnered with T-Mobile to offer an LBS application known as Sherpa on the the company’s myTouch phone.
Unlike other mapping applications, Geodelic’s technology customizes your location search according to your interests and preferences. According to Geodelic:
Sherpa uses a learning engine called GENIE (Geodelic Engine for Interest Evaluation) that automatically learns a user’s favorite locations and lifestyle behavior. If a user eats out more than they shop, it modifies itself and tailors the experience to begin showing more restaurants and less retail stores.
When you launch the Sherpa application on your phone, it assigns you a random number that’s stored at Geodelic’s data center. That number is used to reference you and all of your preferences that the app gleans from your searches, so there’s never a need to input anything manually. And the GENIE tech means the more you search, the “smarter” the application gets — with just a few clicks on your phone, Geodelic’s technology yields location information that’s instantly customized to you, but for which you may not have been looking. To learn more about how Geodelic’s application works, please see this video.
Geodelic CEO Rahul Sonnad said he wants Geodelic to become the environment in which businesses will create their own local applications and store them within the Geodelic user interface — a model similar to that of Where, which also wants to be a portal for a variety of location-based services. This model will be key to monetizing Geodelic’s mobile applications in the long-term, as businesses will pay to publish applications within the Geodelic user interface in the future.
Sonnad is no stranger to taking a platform-like approach. Before Geodelic, he founded thePlatform, a digital video and management company that publishes video content over wireless and broadband. It was sold to Comcast for $108 million in 2006, and according to Sonnad, is now the third-largest video publishing infrastructure behind Yahoo and Google.
So far Geodelic’s application is slated to be available only on T-Mobile’s MyTouch, which is due to hit retail shelves in August, but the company plans to launch one on the iPhone later this year, after which it will be looking to expand to other smartphones and netbooks.