Samir Arora says it’s time for a new wave of applications that use reliable location data.
Arora previously founded Mode Media (which he departed before its shutdown last year, though he remains involved in Mode Media Japan) and NetObjects before that. Today he’s unveiling Sage Digital, the startup that he’s hoping will provide the data for that new wave.
Arora said Sage has been in stealth for the past two years, and that his Woodside Incubator has already provided $10 million in seed and Series A funding. (Not all of the funding was in cash — the $10 million also includes the value of technology and services provided by Woodside.)
Sage is also announcing that it has hired Crystal Ciancutti as its head of product. Ciancutti previously led the search product team at Airbnb, and before that led product marketing for iTunes at Apple.
When we talk about location data, Arora means GPS data, data about the businesses at which location and consumer data. There are plenty of existing sources for this information, of course, but as anyone who’s ended up trying to drive to a nonexistent or long-shuttered store knows, it’s not always accurate — we put up with it because it’s accurate enough.
Arora argued that an approach that values comprehensiveness over accuracy makes sense for search, where you just want to see as many results/locations as possible. However, as we move towards more personalized interactions and queries, accuracy becomes more important.
To achieve this accuracy, Sage is focused on what Arora called “verified sources.” By that he means an individual or publication “who is real, who has a verified real name, who has knowledge about locations, who actually checks in or goes to or says something about a location.”
So Sage has been building up a database of location data from these sources. It isn’t sharing specific numbers about how much data it’s gathered, but Arora said the team has done a lot of hard work to build artificial intelligence that can verify different sources. He also said that Sage’s data is worldwide, and he estimated that in a given category/place type, it’s been able to verify 60 to 70 percent of locations.
Next up, the startup is starting to work with developers who want to use this data to in things like location-based mobile apps, automotive apps and personal assistants. And Sage will also building some apps of its own.