Khaled Naim, CEO of startup Addy, is hoping to create a new way for people to share their location.
What’s wrong with plain old addresses? Well, they usually get the job done, at least if you live in an urban or suburban area in the United States. But even then, I’m guessing that you’ve had moments where they don’t quite work — say, when you’ve had to explain to someone, “Okay, the address is on Street X, but you actually need to park on Street Y, and the entrance is on Street Z.” Or maybe you’re having a barbecue on the beach and have to tell everyone that they’ll have to find you between Entrance A and Entrance B.
Naim said he grew up in Dubai, and that those kinds of landmark-based directions are “how people communicate locations there” — not just in Dubai but also in developing countries in the Middle East and elsewhere. And it’s even a challenge at Stanford (where Naim is a graduate of the business school), since many buildings are located on roads that aren’t accessible to cars.
To address (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), this problem, Addy makes it easy for businesses and individuals to share their location with a simple URL. Each URL includes a pin on a map, as well as room for additional directions/instructions, plus options for sharing.
You can already drop and share pins in Google and iOS Maps, Naim acknowledged, but it requires a “roundabout” process, and he argued that, unlike Addy, those maps aren’t really designed for those kinds of directions. Plus, Naim hopes that by turning Addy into the place everyone goes when they want to share their location, he can take advantage of “a really strong network effect.”
The company is pursuing a two-pronged approach to growth. It’s promoting its tools as a way for businesses, particularly those in emerging markets, to share their location with customers. And today it’s launching a version for consumers to share their locations with friends (Naim said most of the beta testers of the consumer product are actually in the United States).
Addy participated in StartX (an incubator for the Stanford community) and has raised $300,000 in funding from First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund and various angel investors.