Glympse Continues to Spread Real Time Location Tracking Gospel


location sharing

Today at the Mobile World Congress, Seattle startup Glympse announced a partnership with Samsung’s ChatON app. The two companies will integrate Glympse’s real-time, temporary location into the chat app that comes pre-installed on most Samsung phones. The app also crosses platforms, allowing chat from Android, Apple, Blackberry and feature phones.

rsz_incontentad2The two companies feel that ChatON’s cross-platform approach and Glympse’s ability to share location with anyone at any time are a good fit together.

“There are great synergies between Samsung’s ChatON and Glympse, and we’re excited to give the app’s global user base access to real-time location sharing,” said Bryan Trussel, co-founder and CEO of Glympse. “We believe location technology should be ubiquitous and incredibly easy to use, and by putting it directly into an SMS conversation, we’re providing a rich and immediate way for people to share where they are.”

ChatON reportedly has 180 million users. It’s no WhatsApp, but 100+ million users in 200 countries isn’t anything to sneeze at, either.

The partnership allows Glympse to spread its real time, temporary location technology across still more platforms. The app is already integrated into several cars, navigation apps, and on the Samsung smart watch, Galaxy Gear.

The recent flurry of partnership announcements is a new trend for Glympse, and one the company has long hoped for. Founded in 2009, a mere 2 years after the debut of the iPhone, Glympse has always felt like the underdog.

“The conventional wisdom was, ‘How would I use that?'” Trussel told me. “It’s really nice to come into our own.”

The company has 19 employees now and has only raised $7.5 million. They aren’t profitable yet, but as they continue to license their technology to high profile partners, the future is looking bright.

“We always strive to provide our users with the best, most innovative technologies to enhance their mobile conversations and, we hope, to make their lives easier,” said Jay Park, vice president, Samsung Electronics. “Real-time location sharing was at the top of our list, and we are excited to partner with Glympse to offer their technology to ChatON users around the globe.”

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Glympse Partners with Chevy to Make Your Car More Connected

location sharing

Yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show Chevrolet announced the launch of their new AppShop, which will include Seattle-based Glympse.

Glympse also announced a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover. The company already partners with Mercedes-Benz.

The Glympse app allows users to share their location with friends in real time for a short period. Have a coffee with a good friend, but afraid you’re going to be late? You can choose to let them track your progress, so they know how far away you are. The company is backed by Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners and has raised $7.5 million.

While the app itself is a simple idea, and one many people could dismiss, as we move into an “Internet of Things,” Glympse is well-positioned. As our tendency to use our phones while driving rises, so do deaths at the hands of distracted drivers. Many car companies are moving in the same direction as General Motors. In theory, a car connected with our favorite music, news, and location apps will keep the cell phone put away and our hands on the wheel.

“We listen to our customers, and they want more choices like they have with their smartphones,” Alan Beaty, senior vice president of Global Chevrolet, said in a statement. “They’re telling us they want more integration, more options, and more control in a safe manner.”

That’s great news for Glympse, which has been busy adding partners in the last year. Verizon, Samsung, Mini Cooper, BMW, Ford, and Garmin (among others) are already partners with access to the Glympse platform.

Along with Glympse, Chevrolet announced 9 others apps in their AppShop:

  • iHeartRadio
  • The Weather Channel
  • NPR
  • Slacker Radio
  • Tune In Radio
  • Kaliki
  • Cityseeker
  • Eventseeker

Glympse is the only location-sharing app included in the Chevrolet AppShop.

Cyanogen’s Startup Was Cyanogen, Closes $7 Million Series A Round


Cyanogenmod, Seattle Startup, Series A, Venture Capital, Steve Kondik


Back in May we ran a story on Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik, the Android developer behind the Cyanogen Mod operating system that runs, and improves, the Android operating system. The popular “rom” has millions of users who root their Android device to run the open sourced software.

After creating the initial Cyanogenmod, the project became a community effort with several developers working on future releases of the firmware that when installed, allows users to take advantage of many of the benefits Google has in the Android Operating system.

Android’s biggest manufacturer, Samsung, took notice of Kondik and his work with Cyanogenmod. Kondik moved from his Pittsburgh roots to Seattle to work on Samsung’s Android team.

Kondik posted a note on his Facebook page looking for developers in the Seattle area. We reached out to Kondik at the time, and told us he was working on a startup but couldn’t tell us what it was. Knowing that Cyanogen is the most popular “Rom” for Android, we were quite curious as to what could be so interesting that Kondik would quit that job at Samsung and get his feet wet in the startup world.

It was revealed last week that Kondik had teamed up with Kirt McMaster,a cofounder of Boost Mobile, to turn Cyanogenmod from a community based effort, happening in garages and basements across the globe, to an actual company where they could push out the latest features faster.

Kondik wrote on the company blog that McMaster had contacted him by email last year and they were able to secure venture capital meetings in December. Those meetings led to a $7 million dollar series A round led by Benchmark with RedPoint ventures also participating. A confidential source told us by phone that CyanogenMod had turned down other investors including Google Ventures.

Kondik is adamant that the community know that Cyanogenmod won’t fundamentally change, but rather get better. Now they won’t have to worry about raising money from the community for new servers or having to use day jobs to support their development.

With the $7 million dollars, CyanogenMod became CyanogenMod Inc. They also opened up offices in Seattle and Palo Alto. Kondik was also able to bring three long time members of the Cyanogen team to work for the company full time. Kondik first recruited Koushik “Koush” Dutta. They also brought Chris Soyars Head of Infrastructure and designer Dobie Wollert from Google.


We were tremendously excited to hear that a project that started out community based, and built up a huge following, was getting funded. But we were curious about how Cyanogenmod was going to make money. After all they just raised $7 million dollars from some of the biggest VC’s around; surely thode investors would want their money back. Also, Cyanogenmod itself is free and Kondik has already indicated it would stay that way.

We spoke with industry analyst Russell Holly over the weekend who assured us that the “ROM” or “OS” would remain free. Cyanogenmod is looking at hardware partnerships that they couldn’t get before because they weren’t a “real company,” and there should be news on their first hardware partnership in the coming week.

They will also work on other features outside the realm of their operating system that could become premium features. For the immediate future we can expect quicker, more thorough releases.

“Our mass market plan is for the second half of 2014, which will include services and third-party integration,” McMaster explained to “We’ll begin to make money on services we can build and integrate in ways that Google or Apple (AAPL) don’t necessarily do for their own business reasons. We’re not beholden to any OEM or mobile operator.”

When we originally read that statement, we were curious as to the implications stemming from “Apple” being in McMaster’s statement. Holly told us that while we won’t see a “CyanogenMod” for Apple anytime soon, services that may link the two operating systems could be forthcoming. As a hypothetical example Holly brought up the fact that while great in their own systems, FaceTime and Google Hangout were incapable of talking with each other. A more streamlined messaging service may be something the new CyanogeMod takes on.

While that still paves no direct route to monetization, Cyanogemod seems to be in a much better predicament than several social startups that have ballooned to astronomical valuations and huge funding rounds without a solid plan for growth. Undoubtedly the investors will see their money back, in the meantime though, they have now funded a collective of some of the best mobile OS developers in the world.

Findo out more about Cyanogenmod here.


Startups In The Fastlane: Velocity Startup Pass It

Velocity Indiana, a startup accelerator just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, just graduated their first class last week. They brought startups from across the country to learn, grow, and accelerate in a beautiful area in the middle of the country. Velocity is the epitome of “everywhere else”.

Pass It, came from Seattle, Washington to work on a next generation photo sharing app. Nowadays, regular photo sharing apps are getting boring and there’s a filter for everything. Startups are looking to find ways to make photo sharing apps more engaging.

Pass It wants users to send their photos “around the world”. They’ve also added an element of competition to the mix.

Pass It is in our Fastlane, our interview feature that profile’s startups that are going through, or just completed an accelerator program.


What is the name of your startup?

Pass it

What accelerator are you in?

Velocity Accelerator.

Where is your startup originally from?


Tell us about your current team?

Bryce Anderson – Moving the business forward.

Robert Eickmann – Mobile developer with superpowers.

Cameron Chinn – Marketing and user acquisition specialist.

Jon Matar – Primary Advisor

What does your startup do?

Pass it is a photo sharing app that allows users to connect, compete, and send their photos around the world.

What are your goals for the accelerator program?

To substantially improve our business model and create as many new relationships as possible.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the accelerator?

Failure is a part of the process. Every week we tested several hypotheses and we had to constantly adapt our thinking based on our customer feedback.

What’s the hardest piece of advice you’ve had to stomach so far?

To pivot. We came in to Velocity with an EdTech company and we completely changed our business due to the Lean Startup methodology.

What is your goal for the day after demo day?

To create meetings with potential investors and business leaders in the Indiana and Kentucky entrepreneurial community.

Why did you choose this accelerator?

We chose Velocity because of its central location and outstanding business mentors. I would like to give a shout out to Tony Schy, Dave Durand, Terry Goertz, Michael Browning and Greg Langdon.

What’s one thing you learned about an accelerator that you didn’t know when you applied?

How much I would learn from the other startups participating in the program. Even though we all had substantially different businesses, we all faced the same day-to-day startup challenges and I learned valuable information from their experiences with the lean startup program.

Where can people find out more?

What’s your twitter handle?



3 Important Lessons From Our First Major Pivot

Zealyst, Seattle startup, guest post, startup tips, YEC

A few months ago, one of my mentors told me, “Change is easy, but pivots are painful.”

I understood all too well what he meant, since my company, Zealyst, was in the middle of our first true pivot. We’d just signed a major enterprise client, one year after launching as a consumer-focused business, and we were scrambling to figure out the new business model.

Change is constant in a startup: every day there are new ideas, new opportunities, and new hurdles, which is part of the thrill. Pivots, however, are deep, long-term changes that fundamentally alter your course and shift your company’s identity.

The pain of that pivot has decreased and we’ve come out the other side wiser and stronger, but my mentor’s words have stayed with me. I reflected on the stages of our pivot and distilled the challenges we encountered along the way into three main lessons.

  1. Listen to opportunity.
    I joked with a colleague recently that our pivot began when opportunity knocked, but it had to knock again…and again…before we really listened. Shortly after launching Zealyst to a small pilot group of consumers, a business approached us about providing the service to their clients. We agreed to work with them out of curiosity, but considered it an experiment rather than a direction change. We had a few contracts come our way through referrals, which we continued to handle in a similar manner. It wasn’t until a Fortune 100 company asked us to host an employee engagement event that we finally realized we needed to change our focus and pursue enterprise opportunities instead of expanding to new consumer markets.
  2. Maintain a connection to your core.
    My co-founder and I initially resisted the enterprise direction because we thought it strayed too far from our original vision. We started Zealyst to help people build meaningful new connections and ultimately create stronger social networks. We were concerned that taking our model into the corporate world would dilute the impact and lessen the satisfaction we derived from our work. However, after a series of client engagements, we found that the work we did to heighten employee engagement, improve retention and foster innovation was just as gratifying as the work we did for consumers. People spend a major portion of their lives at work, so helping people feel more connected to their workplace has proven to be a very rewarding challenge. Additionally, we discovered that working on specific client objectives, such as connecting people across regional boundaries or across management levels, actually improved our design process.
  3. Communicate clearly with stakeholders.
    One of the things that kept me up at night during our pivot was how we were going to tell our loyal group of early adopters about the change. Initially, we were not sure if we would have to scrap the consumer arm of Zealyst entirely, which felt like a betrayal of the people who supported us from the beginning. I consulted all of our key advisors about the best way to move forward, and we eventually came up with a strategy to maintain a small consumer division for research and marketing. After we integrated the consumer activities into the new business model, we worked closely as a team to craft a clear message about the change to all our key stakeholders: investors, advisors and our existing customers. I was nervous about how the announcement would be received, and pleasantly surprised to be met with resounding support across the board. It was a humbling reminder of the importance of transparency — and further reinforcement that we’d made the right decision.

The pain in our pivot came from having to re-calibrate our vision and change the expectations we had in the early days for what the company would become. It was challenging to let go of the plan and wrap our minds around a new course, but opening up and altering directions has allowed us to become a more resilient company than we could have imagined at the beginning of this adventure.

Martina Welke is the CEO and Co-founder of Zealyst, a curated networking service based in Seattle, Washington. Zealyst utilizes smart technology and creative design to build unique events. Zealyst software uses registration data to match attendees according to their interests, and customized social games make it easy to make new professional and personal connections at events.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Wait, is your startup registered for this?

Founder Spotlight: Matt Ehrlichman CEO & Co-Founder, Porch

Porch, Seattle Startup, Guest Post, Startup Interview, YEC Founder SpotlightMatt Ehrlichman is the CEO of Porch, where you can get inspired by the best home projects your neighbors have completed, see what any home project will cost, and find the best service professional your neighbors and friends recommend. Previous to Porch, Matt was a founder and CEO of Thriva (acquired by ACTV) and Chief Strategy Officer of Active Network (2011 IPO). Matt lives in Seattle, WA. Follow him @mattehrlichman.

Who is your hero? 

My personal hero is Pete Carroll. My business hero is Warren Buffett.

What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?

No one will ever remember how much money you made or what your title was. They will only remember you for how you changed and impacted the world in a durable way. Because of this, I am on a mission to build a truly great company that improves the world one household at a time with Porch.

What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?

The first company I ever started was a sports summer camp in Western Washington at age 14; later, I needed to transition the camp into new leadership. With the change in leadership, the camp failed to continue. Had I known better, I would have worked harder at diligently finding the best way to balance not only the camp sustainability but a successful exit as well.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?

I methodically organize my week to make sure I provide appropriate attention to our key efforts: management, consumer growth, product, marketing, and sales. During the first hour of each day, I speak with the respective discipline leader (walk and talks). We go over priorities and execution, and I roll up my sleeves to dig into subject matter challenges.

What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?

Entrepreneurs by nature make mistakes and take opportunistic risks. We track key financials and metrics that provide us with health and appeal for investors. The only one that matters at the end of the day is your last day. Keep strong watch on your cash runway end date, and ensure that you know what the date is with no revenue as well as with conservative estimates.

Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?

Turn the tables and ask your employees to give you a 360 review!

What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?

Success to me is building a truly great company that solves a really big problem. I will know that I am successful if I build a company that delights customers, creates beautiful experiences, helps millions of small businesses, and forms a culture and team passionate about embarking on a joint mission.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.


Xoogler Spotlight: Seattle Startup Yabbly Wants To Help Prevent Buyer’s Remorse

Yabbler, Seattle Startup, startup interview, Xoogler

We’ve all been there. We bought something from Amazon or in our local department store or Best Buy, just to find out later that we didn’t really like the item, or worse, it didn’t do what we needed it to do. If you’re like me, you even checked out three or four product reviews before buying. That makes the whole situation more annoying.

The problem with those product reviews is that they  either aren’t addressing what we really need out of the item or they were planted by a PR firm or the manufacturer themselves.

Seattle startup Yabbly is looking to change that with their new community of people who are actually out there purchasing items. The site goes deeper than most but in a way that makes it more engaging.

The company was founded by a powerhouse team of founders who know good product. CEO and Co-Founder Tom Leung is a former product manger at Google. Ian Shafer, the engineering lead, actually comes from Amazon. So while Yabbly is going to be filled with user product reviews, the product itself is also going to be easy-to-use and easy-to-understand.

But Yabbly wasn’t created just because it sounded like a good startup. Megh Vakharia who works in the marketing department at Yabbly tells us that the founders created Yabbly because people often have many specific reasons they are looking for a product, and generalized reviews weren’t cutting it.

“For example, someone looking for vacuums specifically to clean up pet hair won’t find many reviews and vacuums that are recommended especially for their pet hair-cleaning abilities. With Yabbly, you can ask a question about how you need a vacuum for pet hair cleanup, and other Yabblers will give you recommendations based on their own experiences,” Vakharia told us in an interview.

You can read the rest of our interview with Yabbly below.


What is your startup called?

Our startup is called Yabbly.

What does your company do?

Yabbly is a platform for thoughtful conversation about product decisions. Members of our community can ask questions about product decisions they’re facing, including information about their specific situation, such as price range, use case, and whatever else is important to them. Our goal is to help people who are facing a product decision find their “product soulmate,” someone who has made a similar product decision in the past. Yabbly is here to help you kill buyer’s remorse by helping you find products you’ll love!

What’s unique about Yabbly is that we guarantee every great question will receive an answer within one day – no other Q&A site matches this.

What problem do you solve?

People relying on Amazon Reviews to help them find the best products face a problem – those reviews could be written by anyone, and the majority of reviews don’t help you figure out if the product will fit your needs. For example, someone looking for vacuums specifically to clean up pet hair won’t find many reviews and vacuums that are recommended especially for their pet hair-cleaning abilities. With Yabbly, you can ask a question about how you need a vacuum for pet hair cleanup, and other Yabblers will give you recommendations based on their own experiences. (this was in fact one of our best threads, with 18 responses)

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

The Yabbly team was founded by Tom Leung, CEO, Ian Shafer, engineering lead, and Steven Neuman, UX designer. The team is especially equipped to solve the problem because they helped create it – Tom is a former Google product manager, Ian is a former Amazon engineer, and Steven worked on shopping apps for Target and REI.Where are you based?

Yabbly is based in Pioneer Square, a neighborhood in Seattle, WA.What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Seattle’s startup scene is awesome, and it’s a growing hub of entrepreneurial activity – especially with people trying to start the next Microsoft or Amazon. VC activity is also ramping up in the area and groups like TechStars Seattle offer entrepreneurs many opportunities to execute their ideas.

Why now?

Americans spend a trillion dollars on products every year, and this will only grow in the future as ecommerce shopping booms. But product reviews haven’t caught up with this – Amazon reviews suck, and Facebook isn’t focused enough to facilitate great conversation about which products to buy. Beyond that, more people are going mobile when making shopping decisions – Yabbly is positioned perfectly to capture this growing market and provide a platform for great discussion about which products to buy.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

-Almost 2,000 questions asked and over 10,000 responses

-On average, each question recieves around 5 responses
-Top 3 in SxSW Startup Accelerator in Social category

– $1.5 million in seed funding

-Rated #2 for “product reviews” on iTunes app store, #15 for “reviews”

What are your next milestones?

-Focus on growing our community with engaged users

-Update iPhone app to be iOS7 compatible

-Improve desktop web app experience

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

Join the community to get help finding the best products for you!

Check out these other Xoogler founded startups.


Cyanogen Gets Caught With The Startup Bug, Looking For Developers In Seattle

Cyanogen, Steve Kondik, Startup, Seattle Startup


Cyanogen, Steve Kondik, is a name we wrote quite often at but a quick perusing through the archives of nibletz and since focusing on startups “everywhere else” (3/2012) we haven’t gotten a chance to talk about the Android developer who’s Cyanogenmod open source firmware changed the landscape of Android for millions of users.

After creating the initial Cyanogenmod the project became a community effort with several developers working on future releases of the firmware that when installed, allows users to take advantage of many of the benefits Google has in the Android Operating system.

Android’s biggest manufacturer, Samsung, took notice of Kondik and his work with Cyanogenmod. Kondik moved from his Pittsburgh roots to Seattle to work on Samsung’s Android team.

Now it turns out that he’s left Samsung and while it was unclear at first why the change, things are starting to come to the surface. Apparently Kondik has been hit by the startup bug.

Granted Cyanogenmod was like a startup itself, except for the revenue part, however it came to market before “startup” was such an uber cool thing. With years of development experience it’s really no surprise that Kondik is involved in a startup himself.

We reached out to Kondik earlier today who said the startup he is working with is still in stealth mode. He wouldn’t comment as to whether or not he was a cofounder but did tell us he hopes to release more information on the startup later this summer.

Kondik did however confirm that the startup he is working with (or is it on) is based in Seattle and it’s a mobile focused startup.  To that end he’s looking for developers, and shocker, they don’t need to be just Android developers.

Kondik told us today that remote working is a possibility but ideally a developer interested on working with this startup should be in the Seattle area (or perhaps willing to relocate).

Here’s what we can tell you about Kondik, since meeting him in person in 2010

– He’s an incredible guy to know, he’s extremely smart and willing to share his knowledge in a collaborative way, much the way Cyanogenmod evolved to today.

– Cyanogenmod turned into an astronomical success. While it’s open source and free, there are millions of Android users using the firmware.

– You can count on the fact that Kondik wouldn’t waste his time with something not worthy.

Cyanogen is looking for developers, interested in working on his next big thing? Venture over to his Facebook page.

This Athens Georgia startup started with a honey bee dance.


Seattle Startup LocalBlox Is Kayak For Your Neighborhood

Localblox,Seattle startup,startup,startup interviewA wife and husband founded startup in Seattle Washington is quickly becoming the goto place for everything, and anything having to do with your neighborhood. It’s a social networking platform that connects neighbors through anything and everything that relates to them.

LocalBlox already has over 77,000 neighborhoods listed in their platform which covers everything from getting to know your neighbors, to neighborhood events and even lost pets.

The company was founded by Sabia Arefin, a Duke MBA with a rich background in technology management and business analysis for Fortune 500 companies. Her cofounder is her husband, Ashfaq Arefin, a Microsoft Engineer who’s been the lead technologist for several companies ranging from startups to large corporations.

LocalBlox is a one stop shop for information about any given neighborhood. It’s like a mashup of Block Avenue, Patch, the Yellow Pages and the local community bulletin board. The feature rich platform has several uses including:

  • Discover your neighbors, Learn about a neighborhood, its residents and social vitality. Invite friends to the neighborhood. Know your neighbors from their social media profiles.
  • Explore what the neighbors say and like about the neighborhood. Connect & share with your neighbors (Neighborhood Wall, Neighborhood Ambassador).
  • Find out what’s going on around your neighborhood (events & announcements, news feed, neighborhood watch).
  • Neighborhood News Feed based on Resident activities, Neighborhood watch & alert.
  • Pet Alert : Is your Cat missing? Ask your Neighbors! Find out the neighbors and their children that your kid is playing with
  • Nearby amenities and services: Find out your neighbors’ recommendation. Rate goods and services around the hood.
  • Engage in social vitality around your neighborhood
  • Find a job close to home: babysitter, dog-walker, stylist, landscaper
  • Check nearby public transit stops

We got a chance to interview Sabira, check out the full interview below.

What is your startup, what does it do?

LocalBlox is a highly-scaled hyperlocal neighborhood platform that combines high-volume, high-value content aggregation, curation, real-time augmentation and updates, along with syndication, mapping and crowdsourcing with business and personal profile claiming services. To create a vibrant, interconnected social, local, mobile marketplace of content and tool sets, profile claiming, automatic mobile and web campaign content creation tools help local businesses and neighbors connect more efficiently. Proprietary scoring allows automatic Web and mobile campaign creation for local business owners and event organizers. We aspire to be “the Kayak” for neighborhoods & neighborhood businesses & more!


Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

The company was founded by me and my husband, Ashfaq Rahman.

I did my MBA from Duke University and I have years of experience in technology management and business analysis in Fortune 500 companies

Ashfaq is a serial entrepreneur technologist. He founded revolutionary technology platforms for companies ranging from startups to multi-billion dollar companies. An engineer from Microsoft in Redmond, he held the founding and key technologist roles in a number of successful companies, masterminding key inventions. He attended graduate school in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania.


Where are you based?

 LocalBlox is based in Bellevue, WA.


What is the startup culture like where you are based?

The startup culture here is a strong and easily accessible, with regular events and meet-ups. There are a lot of really smart, educated and successful people here who help support startups and encourage entrepreneurs.


What problem does your startup solve?

We bring a diverse array of information, resources, tool & technology together in one place, and make it meaningful and locally relevant. People don’t have to go to 10 different sites when it comes to finding information about their neighborhood. It’s all in one place and validated for higher relevancy and accuracy. We place information into a neighborhood context. The LocalBlox infrastructure consists of data acquisition, parsing and extraction engines aggregating content to 112,000 neighborhoods in the U.S.

We have a large aggregation of local businesses and local events with extremely rich data-points, generating boundaries of the top neighborhoods in the U.S., with unique features like hyperlocal news and neighborhood crime watch built on top of our aggregation engine. We created some disruptive self-serve offerings for local businesses to gain a targeted reach and build their profiles in a more efficient way. We’re leveraging these assets to build a sustainable business model.

We have the scale and use big data and technology strategically, leveraging them to build partnerships focusing on our key strengths. We are not just a social network or another local site. There is unique depth in each of the modules offered at LocalBlox, which makes it possible for us to build a lot of interesting business models revolving around interesting technologies, algorithms and big data.


What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

We realized that staying focused was critical and not to get distracted or diverted into multiple directions by different opportunities, as it would be deadly for our little startup. After the failure of sites such as Judy’s Book and EveryBlock, it was difficult to overcome the idea that another local neighborhood site was “absurd and not fundable.”


What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?

LocalBlox is live in 112,000 neighborhoods with 23 million comprehensive business profiles, millions of aggregated local content, news and events, crime mapped into neighborhoods, with social integration and a Mobile SDK. We have over 200,000 claimed business profiles, over 200,000 Twitter followers and more than 60,000 Facebook fans. We have trademarks and patents for some of our core proprietary discovery, validation and mapping engines.


What are your next milestones?

We are redesigning our site for a better user experience and focusing on a couple of key strategic partnerships for revenue monetization.


Who are your mentors and role models?

Our advisors Merrill Brown, founding team member of MSNBC, and Dane Madsen, founder of, are very inspiring. They’ve been very kind and contributed much to our company. They serve on our advisory board and we’re very fortunate to learn from them. I am personally thankful to Dane Madsen and Rick Blair[SR1]  for their constant encouragement.


What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley?

I really didn’t feel any advantage or disadvantage of being outside Silicon Valley, though I imagine it would be much harder for anyone in the Valley, where every other person has a startup. We have funded the startup ourselves, bootstrapped all the way and have a solid, viable revenue model. I feel we are very fortunate to be in Seattle. People here understand and appreciate the hard work and technical merit that goes behind a solid scalable product and value team & technology.


What’s next for your startup?

We are focusing our efforts in a few key areas, redesigning our site for a better and more user friendly experience, and exploring opportunities with a couple of key strategic partners to take our company to the next level.


Where can people find out more, and what is your Twitter username? and on Twitter at localblox

Startup Weekend and Startup America have joined forces, read more about that here.


Footmarks Is Using A Software & Hardware Based Platform For Location Based Engagement

Footmarks, Seattle startup,startup,startup interview, video interview, CES 2013Seattle startup Footmarks is looking to change the way location based engagement is done for businesses both big and small. They consider themselves a social engagement platform that is based on two patent pending technologies.

The first technology is a piece of hardware called the “Smart Connect Device” this device is a low powered Bluetooth device that works within 400 feet of a smartphone and the battery lasts for two years.

Using this device in your car will enable the end user to receive  a stream of localized, real time deals as they approach a business on the road. By combining the device’s technology along with the users social profile, they can receive offers from businesses that are relevant to them. For instance if you were say a golfer and you were passing by Mike’s Super Golf Warehouse, the store could alert you of a deal as you approach.

Another use for the device is through digital billboards. Footmarks hopes to have their technology work in tandem with digital billboards so that the billboard can show an add relevant to a mass of users within 1500 feet. If the demographic profiles of those users approaching the billboard suggested that they were between 35-54 the billboard could show an advertisement for an Elton John concert. Or if the bulk of users passing were 21-35 year old mom’s, you may see an ad on the billboard for Chuckie Cheese.

So of course we had to ask why this technology would trump existing geo-fencing technologies that are currently available on smartphones. According to Footmarks, their technology is scalable up and down whereas geo-fencing technology out there today is to a rather large area.

The company insists that they could set the radius for Footmarks to say 200 feet. That way a department store could have multiple Footmarks set up by department. When the user passes the shoe department they could get one offer, and then turn around and get an entirely different offer in the juniors department.

According to a report on NPR just yesterday, more and more retailers are looking to embrace in-store mobile technologies a growing fad in today’s evolving retail landscape.

Check out the video below to hear about the other things Footmarks has in store for their late Spring 2013 launch.

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Seattle Startup: XSync A Safer Way To Share Files On Mobile Devices?

Xsync,Seattle startup,startup interviewImagine if you were at a park or another public place and you snapped a shot of your child playing with another child. Perhaps you befriended the parents for just a few minutes but you don’t know them well enough to share phone numbers or email addresses. A new Seattle Startup called XSync has a solution that could work for you.

Xsync uses a QR code technology to securely link two smartphones for file transfer. Since the technology is using the QR code to establish the secured bridge, there’s no need to swap email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook accounts. Any kind of file can be sent using Xsync’s technology.

Right now there are several ways to send files between two phones, there’s NFC “bumping” like on the Galaxy Nexus phones, there’s email, SMS, Facebook, Drop Box, the bump app, and others. Is there even room for Xsync?

According to Xsync co-founder Bryan Leeds the company is already in negotiations with OEM’s and carriers to have the Xsync system pre-installed on future mobile devices. While Xsync exists in an app today, if it does go the pre-install route it would be a feature instead of an app. It would also give the startup a significant boost as they try to build scale.

Being based in Seattle could prove fruitful for this mobile centric startup. In addition to the obvious, like Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Clearwire and T-Mobile all have significant presence in the city.

We got a chance to talk with Leeds about Xsync and growing a startup in Seattle. Check out the interview below.

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Seattle Techstars Startup: SandGlaz Raises $500K

SandGlaz, Seattle Startup,Techstars, FundingA Techstars Seattle startup graduate that specializes in collaborative project/task management has just announced a $500k raise. The startup, called SandGlaz, was founded in 2011.

SandGlaz makes it easy for high performance teams of 5-15 to manage and collaborate on tasks and projects which are managed in “infinite grids”. Users can break down task lists, add descriptions and set notifications and due dates. All this is managed through a drag and drop interface.

The funding round, led by private investors, will be used to launch more email integration, smartphone apps for Android and iOS, and launch a universal grid feature so that users can see all of their current tasks and projects on one screen.

There are already plenty of collaborative management tools out there already. Basecamp, Asana and even xtrant, offer teams of users the ability to manage tasks and projects together. However, SandGlaz CEO Nada Aldahleh, feels her startup serves the middle space between quick easy management solutions and more complex offerings like MS Project and SmartSheet.

SandGlaz seems to have all of the right things in the right places. Their revenue stream comes from their three tiered pricing plans. They offer a fermium model all the way up to team subscriptions. They also have their TechStars pedigree which definitely gives them a leg up in talking to investors.

Adlahleh spoke to BetaKit about their experience at TechStars:

“During our time at TechStars, we’ve been looking at how to improve our virality metric. I really think that virality is the key ingredient that every startup should be thinking about early on,” said Aldahleh.


Check out SandGlaz here

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Life Is A Story, Tell It With Seattle Startup Jumyo

jumyo,Seattle startup,startup interviewEveryday millions of people around the globe are using their smartphones, cameras, and apps to tell stories. They’re telling stories through pictures, video and of course text. Seattle startup Jumyo is helping people connect the dots and tell the stories of their lives through their social community and their iPhone app.

There are a few startups out there that are addressing the issue “if pictures could talk” by simply adding voice clips to photos sent to social networks. Jumyo knows that there is more to a story than just the picture, with or without context. Perhaps you’re at your daughters birthday party. Maybe you’re on a vacation to Mexico. What happened before these key events, what happened after? How did you get there in the first place. These are all questions that can be answered when the story is woven together.

As we put more and more pictures and videos on our phone, the ability to recall each event gets harder and harder. I travel all the time. When I visit a city I’ve been to before I often try new places but also go back to the places I really like. So at the end of the day (well actually at the end of several months) when I comb through Facebook albums, Google Plus instant upload albums and iPhoto I find pictures from the same places at different times. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why in the world I took some random photos, or videos, which at the time probably weren’t random at all.

Hopefully Jumyo can solve that problem for me and for you.

We got a chance to talk with Joe Egan, co-founder and CEO at Jumyo. Check out the interview below.

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Seattle Startup Zulily’s Valuation Reaches $1 Billion Dollars

Zulily,Seattle startup,startup,startups, billion dollar valuation,square,foursquare, instagramBack in September we brought you this interview with Zulily co-founder Darrell Cavens. Zulily is an online marketplace featuring daily deals for kids,mom’s and women. The company started out with just kids stuff and then expanded and started offering women’s clothing and accessories along with housewares.

It was announced on Thursday that the Seattle based startup has raised $85 million dollars from Andreessen Horowitz, one of the top valley venture capital firms that holds interests in companies like Instagram and Skype.

Jeff Jordan the former CEO of Open Table and partner at Andreessen Horowitz, characterized Zulily as an example of “e-commerce 2.0″ in a blog post.  He also said that Zulily was part of a renaissance in innovation among e-commerce players.

That wasn’t all that attracted Andreessen Horowitz to Zulily. The company’s founding team that’s already had tremendous success in the e-commerce arena in a niche market. Mark Vardon and Darrell Cavens were also the team behind Blue Nile which is the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and other fine jewelry. Jordan also cited the fact that Cavens was the head of both technology and marketing, ” a combination of functions I had never encountered before as an internet executive”, he wrote in the blog post.

Zulily has been very successful in carrying goods from lesser known designers who lacked distribution and then spun it into a business with over 10 million customers to date.

Last year Zulily raised $43 million dollars at a valuation of $750 million dollars. Although they didn’t report a valuation with today’s round, Business Insider quotes Fortune’s Dan Primack valuing the company at $1 billion dollars.  This puts Zulily in the same company as other startups like Square, FourSquare and Airbnb.


Check out Zulily here

Here’s our interview with Zulily

Source: BI

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