Lightbank has invested $650,000 in its own Founder-in-Residence Josh Hernandez’s new startup, Walk.by, a platform for bringing local merchants into the e-commerce world by way of smartphones. The company is today announcing the release of its consumer-facing iPhone app which lets shoppers browse and follow offline retailers, the brands they carry, as well as very specific items, like “brown… → Read More
Roamz, a local search and discovery startup which has been struggling to gain traction as a consumer-facing service, is shifting its focus again. This time, it’s shopping its aggregated location-based data to businesses and retailers under new branding “Local Measure.” And though only a few weeks old, Local Measure already has paying customers, the company says. → Read More
Spindle, the location discovery app from former Microsoft engineers backed by $2.3 million in funding from Polaris, Greylock, Lerer, SV Angel and others, is today releasing the biggest update to its iPhone application yet. With version 2.0, the app introduces keyword-based search, configurable and personalized “search alerts,” and expands its coverage to include Austin, Chicago and Seattle. → Read More
In the fall of 2011, we caught up with social commerce startup, Yardsellr, which the founders claimed at the time had grown into a community of over 5 million people. The Facebook-based social commerce platform was listing 6K new items for sale each day (at the time) and had over 120K items for sale in total. This, by the way, came after the company raised $5 million from Accel in 2010. → Read More
Today, Yelp announced its fourth-quarter earnings, and they weren’t as sunny as some as hoped. Net revenue was $41.2 million in Q4 of 2012 — a 65 percent growth in new revenue from 2011. In turn, net loss was $5.3 million, or $0.08 per share, compared to a net loss of $9.1 million, or $0.55 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.8 million. → Read More
Centzy, a local search engine which provides prices, reviews, hours, and ratings for nearby businesses, is today announcing its availability in the top 10 metro areas across the United States. When the service launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2012, it offered 30,000 business listings in 3 major markets. Now it has over 300,000 local businesses on its site, across NYC, San Francisco, Chicago… → Read More
If you’re not an aspiring musician, you may not be familiar with TakeLessons, but the San Diego-based startup is on a mission to change that. Today, TakeLessons announced that it has raised $4 million in follow-on series A financing, led by Palo Alto’s Triangle Peak Partners, to expand its online marketplace for music lessons into new new verticals — including tutoring and the performing arts. → Read More
Urban Compass, the startup in stealth mode that raised an $8 million seed round from high-profile investors late in 2012, is slowly revealing more details about what it will be doing, and how it will be doing it, when it launches for business later this year — most likely in April. → Read More
Roamz, a local search startup for web and mobile, is today showing off one of the first implementations of the new Google Maps iOS SDK in its new iPad app, due out after the holidays. The Maps iOS SDK, which was released at the time of the Google Maps iOS app launch earlier this month, allows mobile developers who use maps inside their apps to use Google Maps instead of Apple’s implementation. → Read More
When people want local information, more often than not, they turn to the nearest mobile device. In fact, Google reportedly announced in October that 50 percent of mobile search queries are for local information. Mobile devices are integral to how interface with the world, especially when it comes to searching for and discovering local businesses and services while on-the-go. While consumers are… → Read More
Airbnb took a while to roll out its international businesses — for example, officially launching Airbnb.co.uk only in February 2012, despite being around since 2008. But in a sign of how Airbnb is focused on its wider business expansion, today the company began to promote its Neighborhoods feature, announced just four days ago, across some (but not all) of Europe. Neighborhoods offers… → Read More
With the recent Foursquare changes, it’s becoming very clear that the service is trying to spread its wings into the mainstream population. It’s about discovery and exploration now, not just check-ins.
Today, Foursquare wanted to let everyone know that you can check-in with a friend, even if they’re not using Foursquare. This is important because the service has been around for a while and… → Read More
If you don’t live in New York City, you may not have heard of LocalVox. But the startup, which aims to simplify local marketing for small businesses and publishers, is beginning to take off. Headquartered in the Big Apple, the startup initially focused its efforts in its own backyard, but thanks to the $7.5 million series A it closed two weeks ago, it is now setting its sights on a more national… → Read More
Plenty of startups still believe there’s room in the social recommendations space, and now, another new contender heads into battle. Chicago-based Mouthee is today officially debuting its website and iOS application, which allow users to quickly share reviews of local restaurants and hotels, as well as movies, music and books. → Read More
Google rolled out its own integrated, social review system for businesses with Google+ Local in May of this year. Not only was this a nice addition for Google+, but it finally utilized Google’s acquisition of Zagat. Having said that, I haven’t used the service all that much, because there are some usability issues there. → Read More
Google’s tools for tracking the upcoming U.S. election later this year mostly focus on the presidential election. It’s no secret, though, that Google – thanks to its various advertising services – also makes a good amount of money from political campaigns that compete in smaller contests, including the 435 races for seats in the House of Representatives this year. This year, thanks to the recent … → Read More
Earlier this year, young venture capital fund and startup accelerator 500 Startups announced some changes that indicated its intent to move beyond adolescence into adulthood, and expand its scope beyond the U.S. The firm raised a new, bigger fund, added new partners, and increase its focus on identifying and investing in talented international entrepreneurs.
Apptera, the mobile communications and ad company backed by $30 million from Alloy, Lightspeed Ventures, and others, is today launching a second mobile app to join what had been, until now, its flagship product: the Android dialer replacement, Poptuit, which debuted around this time last year.
The new app is a friend-powered recommendation engine called Raved, and it’s available first for iOS. → Read More
For many, the appeal of realtime, local commerce platforms like Zaarly is evident almost immediately. For those unfamiliar, the mobile-centric reverse Craigslist allows users to post requests to Zaarly’s app — for anything from data entry to a fancy Starbucks mocha Frappuccino and how much you would be willing to pay for it. As appealing as the idea may be initially, I must admit that I was… → Read More
Yardsale, a mobile app to help folks sell goods to local buyers, is now available throughout the U.S., after a long, long period of testing in the San Francisco Bay Area. The latest version of the app, which hooks into Craigslist and enables users to easily list items for sale, hopes to take on other local marketplaces by reducing the friction associated with creating listings, and then dealing… → Read More
No plans yet for the weekend? Good! Here’s something you should try then: Eventster is a new app for iPhone and iPad launching today which is tackling local event recommendations. The app pulls in 600,000 events per day across North America and Europe via the Zvents API (now a part of StubHub), offering activities like concerts, festivals, nightlife hotspots, theater showtimes, sports events, and… → Read More
San Francisco-based BankOns, an early stage mobile startup, has been purchased by Capital One and will now be incorporated into Capital One’s Digital Labs. This very young company was founded in summer 2010, and launched in May 2011, with the aim of offering tools that would allow banks to reward users based on their geo-location and their purchase history.
Finding a good restaurant – even in a city you’ve never been to – has never been easier. Thanks to Yelp, Urbanspoon and its various brethren, a good place to eat is generally just a few clicks away. What if you want to find a restaurant with a very specific atmosphere, though? Say you’re in the mood for a pizza at a relaxed place where the noise level is just right for a good conversation? Chances… → Read More
Social travel planning service Gtrot is changing its focus and is now officially relaunching its website with a new emphasis on local discovery. Somewhat reminiscent of Foursquare’s “Explore” feature, Gtrot is working to build a platform where you can discover, save and share the best restaurants, bars, clubs, arts, events and even the best local deals from services like Groupon and Gilt City… → Read More
Wow, AroundMe has really been flying under the radar. The location-aware mobile search app is announcing today that it’s now passed the 6 million mark for monthly unique visitors. To put that in perspective, Yelp’s mobile apps see 5.7 million+ monthly uniques these days. Not bad, then, considering AroundMe has a single founder, a team of four, and no outside funding.
I don’t know if Highlight, Glancee, Banjo, or any one of those other startups you’re now officially sick to death of hearing about are going to make it, but I know that for the first time in a long time, we’re starting to move in the right direction in terms of mobile innovation. And no, I don’t mean we need more people-stalking apps, I mean we need more passive use of our mobile… → Read More
EggDrop, essentially a mobile app alternative to Craigslist, is starting to pick up steam. The company now boasts half a million downloads of its app on iOS and Android, with $8 million in listings from across the 50 U.S. states and the U.K. (EggDrop’s top two markets).
Maps have been around for millenia, but for a significant chunk of that time, they remained static, two-dimensional forms, rendered by hand on paper. It sounds crude now, even as services like Wave have us mapping our worlds with our smartphones like explorers of old. Today, with the ridiculous amount of data available on the Web and in the cloud, maps have become something else entirely, our… → Read More