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LBS Startups to Keep on Your Map

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3deep_screen2Now that GPS chips are becoming must-have hardware on cell phones, location-based services for mobile devices have finally arrived. They’re even infiltrating the desktop. So it’s time to start sifting through the location-aware company pitches, from newly launched apps to platforms (there’s always a few platforms). We’ve all heard about Google’s (s GOOG) Latitude and Loopt, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the other interesting LBS efforts out there:

FourSquare: This company launched at SXSW earlier this month along with three other LBS startups. Founder Dennis Crowley, the guy behind Dodgeball, and the narcissistic appeal of being able to post unusual locations or best recommendations about a place in the guise of a game makes this one a contender.

YellowPin: This service is unusual simply because it tries to make GPS available to all by letting people text their location. This is great if you have a phone without GPS (or are concerned about privacy and want your location updates to be intensely proactive,) but texting your location with the early adopter crowd seems kind of like the equivalent of Marge Simpson doctoring her single Chanel suit to fit in at the country club.

3deep: LiteScape Technologies today unveiled 3deep (it launches this summer), which integrates location info with calendar availability and presence awareness. If it can get built into unified communications efforts coming out from Microsoft (s MSFT) or Cisco (s CSCO), such a platform could be incredibly powerful. It has some relationship with Microsoft on the mobile side, but integrate 3deep with SharePoint and things get both scary (your employer can literally track you) and really useful (check out the screen grab).

AirSage: This company has been around since 2002, but today it announced $2.5 million in funding to help manage a contract it won last week to deliver real-time traffic information to Google’s Maps service in 20 markets. AirSage grabs cell phone location data (currently from Sprint (s S)) to track traffic patterns and will soon use its real-time location data to track roadside advertising exposure based on the number of people driving by billboards. Billboards are low-tech, but PricewaterhouseCoopers, said last year that “out-of-home advertising” which includes billboards — is expected to grow by more than 8 percent a year until 2011. That’s the fastest-growing category next to the Internet, but still a mere 4 percent of the annual U.S. ad spend.

11 Responses to “LBS Startups to Keep on Your Map”

  1. Stacey, good list. 3Deep is the most likely to monetize the soonest. Not an easy task in the current LBS landscape. We, at Abaqus provide a Geoweb platform and a geo social application called, an online community for users to record, annotate and share their GPS tracks. Besides being a location-centric online community, it also helps users derive personal intelligence from their diary of GPS tracks.

  2. Great synopsis of the growing LBS market. Although there are many promising newer ventures, I think it bares mentioning some of those currently achieving success in the market… like FindWhere American, Inc.

    If you have a moment check out our latest press release announcing Skybitz Satellite Tracking integration of Findwhere Service.

    Thank you!

  3. Pretty good article on LBS services.

    As an other LBS effort I would like to point out SOOSHI (

    SOOSHI is a LBS Social Networking Service, allowing people :
    – to discover people nearby
    – to broadcast messages to the community
    – to share informations (like facebook, twitter, etc) between them in a public (to everybody) or private (restricted to their friends) way.

    Take a look !



  4. Great article. Our company will soon be releasing a simple plug-in for Windows Mobile (Pocket Internet Explorer) that allows you to access location information on a smartphone “without the need to build a mobile app”. JavaScript will now be able to access both cell tower id and gps if the user gives the appropriate permission.



  5. Jonas Rosenblat

    I think foursquare is the Pownce of LBS, early adopters are jumping on it but no one will end up using it. Besides there are rumours that Google might shut them down.