Grafetee (pronounced like graffiti, owing to its location-tagging nature) today announced that its app is coming out of beta after a three-month public testing period, and is expanding to cover a global footprint. The Finland and London-based startup provides map- and location-based exploration tools via mobile apps for iOS and Android, with information layers that offer access to different categories of information.
One popular area where Grafetee has a lot of promise is with retail listings. Co-founder Juha Huttunen told me in a phone interview that’s been a big area of interest, and one where Grafetee sees a lot of potential, since it can act as an information hub that’s less confusing for users than multiple, independent apps. For businesses, partnering with Grafetee means less development overhead, and a chance at reaching a wider audience.
“From the consumer’s point of view, that’s not that much fun,” Huttunen explains. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like downloading apps from companies that do just one thing, are designed for one purpose, or that I might just use once. I’m looking for a house once in what, five or ten years?”
But real estate is just one area. Grafetee also provides information about local points of interest, offer restaurant menus, and more. The company partners with all kinds of organizations, from small and large companies to public service entities like the Poliisi Finnish police force, which distributes real-time location-based updates and alerts to the public and collects crime reports via the app. That’s a big achievement for a company that got started building its product in April this year, and one that could pave the way for similar arrangements with other public safety organizations around the world.
On the web, users can bookmark real-world locations from popular travel and booking sites like Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and more. They’ll then be available through the app for easy reference when they’re on the move. While that puts it somewhat in competition with startups like Findery and Everplaces, Huttunen says that Grafetee is more about forward-looking bookmarks, rather than mementos or keeping track of where you have been.
“We’re more about ‘this is something I need to find next Sunday at 6:30,’ or if you’re in a new place and wondering what’s around you that’s interesting,” he said. That makes it more like a location-based Evernote, with some aspects of Yelp built in. Huttunen believes that the app’s greater breadth of categories and filters, and its ability to plug into any outside company’s location information database will eventually make it a much more far-reaching resource, however, especially as the company intends to improve content discovery for end-users as more sources go live. Another goal is to potentially move part of the company to Silicon Valley in the near future, as the startup looks to expand its global reach and also pursue North American investment.