Glassmap, the YC-backed location startup launched at the beginning of the year as something of a “Find My Friends” app for Facebook users, is today introducing a new vertical for business customers. With the debut of “Glassmap Business Solutions,” as the system is being called, both brands and local brick-and-mortar retailers can take advantage of the technology Glassmap built in order to better target customers on an individualized basis.
The solution allows the businesses to build their own self-branded, consumer-facing application on top of Glassmap’s mobile technology platform. It’s essentially a white-labeling of everything that Glassmap has to offer. That includes “Relay,” the company’s proprietary, patent-pending framework that locates users in real-time without the battery drain associated with other location-based mobile apps. And it includes “Cerberus,” Glassmap’s relevancy engine launched this summer, which determines what nearby information a user may be interested in (photos, events, etc.), and then uses that info to personalize its map-based interface.
This relevancy-based targeting is different from Facebook’s targeting capabilities, the company believes, because it’s not about narrowing a large dataset down to smaller demographic groups. Instead, it starts with the individual, and targets them in real-time with personalized, relevant information based on their activities, those of their friends, and their current location.
One example of how this could be used for retailers, comes from Glassmap’s business solution alpha testers. Some have been experimenting with a feature that could target consumers as they enter rival businesses by pushing a special offer from their own shop.
Glassmap co-founder Geoffrey Woo says that a business-focused solution has been in demand from top 50 multinational brands and local business alike, and it made sense as an additional source of revenue for the young company. The consumer-facing mobile app is not going away, however. “We see our business vertical as complementary to our main consumer application,” says Woo. “Selling ads misaligns our incentives against our users and keeping a best-in-class user experience is our primary goal. But we also need to generate revenue. With latent small business demand, the business vertical seems like a perfect opportunity to fill a niche and to develop the small business relationships for future initiatives,” he adds.
The company, which relaunched its iOS and Android mobile apps just two months ago, doesn’t talk in terms of active users, but Woo notes that you can now browse over 2.5 million user profiles and over 200,000 photos and status updates within Glassmap. There are now over 500 million location data points which have been generated by Glassmap users, up from 300 million in August.
The company is offering a 50% discount to the first 10 TechCrunch readers who want to try out the new business platform. Just use the code “TC50” at sign-up.
San Francisco-based Glassmap was co-founded by Woo, Jon Zhang, and Jonathan Chang. The startup came under a little fire (mainly from tech pundit Robert Scoble) shortly after launch for auto-sharing to Facebook. It’s hardly the first company to do so, but even a minor controversy could have put some early adopters off. (See the founders’ response here). Focusing on businesses as a new revenue source, then, makes sense – especially since the new wave of geo-based ambient social apps has turned out to be mostly a dud in terms of real-world adoption.