During her keynote speech at the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, Geoloqi CEO Amber Case proclaimed that the next generation of location-based apps and analytics would transform the mobile phone into a "remote control for reality," with people as the metaphorical buttons. The problem with the current state of things, she lamented, is that you "miss a lot of life looking at the screen all the time."
With Geoloqi, you can make apps to fix that--apps that work in the background, alerting you only if something needs to be done. The Portland, Ore.-based company provides a turnkey platform that makes it easy to add next-generation geolocation functionality to apps and mobile devices. The company demonstrates its capabilities to potential clients and partners with its own app, which has features like "Don't Eat There" (it pings you if you're near a restaurant that has gotten too many bad reviews). Case and co-founder Aaron Parecki programmed a set of location-based features that automatically turn lights on or off when they enter or leave their houses.
Ambient-location technology, as Case describes geolocation, "has incredible implications for the end-user." Other developers, she hopes, will take the technology and run with it, since her main focus is on big organizations. Already, Geoloqi has partnerships with app-development platforms like Appcelerator and a project with personnel recovery firm TATE to help track the global staffs of clients such as the Peace Corps, pushing emergency alerts upon entry to dangerous areas.
Case and Parecki started Geoloqi in 2010; they launched the product this past February, offering a software development kit that addresses pain points that have plagued the geolocation market from the beginning, such as accuracy, battery drain, carrier dependence and privacy.
In fact, Geoloqi has been six years in the making; development began two years ago when Case and Parecki still had day jobs and bootstrapped the business with winnings from weekend hackathons. "I've seen a lot of geocompanies die, so we were waiting until the exact right moment," she says--referring to when investors started calling. The company closed on $350,000 in funding in July 2011.
That cash is proof of what Victor Hwang, managing director of Silicon Valley's T2 Venture Capital and author of The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley, says is the "significant" amount of interest, money and activity still flowing into apps. "It's true that geolocation has been going on for a while, but we're still waiting for a big ‘super-app' company that answers how to really make revenue off that," he says.
Things are promising for Geoloqi. "This is the future of apps," Case says. The numbers back that up: Pyramid Research puts the global location-based services market at $10 billion by 2015; ABI Research estimates location analytics will be a $9 billion market by 2016; and Ericsson anticipates upward of 50 billion connected devices on the market by 2020.