Yandex buys geolocation startup KitLocate

KitLocate's tehnology will be integrated into Yandex's mobile apps and products

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
March 18, 2014
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Its no secret that the key to advertising on mobile is geo-location. The more accurate a service can be with your exact location, the better it can be at sending you the right ads at the right time. Any company in this space is going to be highly coveted by some of the largest companies in the tech world. 

The latest to get picked up is Israeli mobile location startup KitLocate, which has been purchased by Russian search giant Yandex, it was announced on Tuesday. While no financial terms of the deal were disclosed, it was revealed that the entire eight-member KitLocate team has now fully joined the staff over at Yandex.

Yandex will be integrating KitLocate's technology into its existing offerings and mobile apps, distributing the technology "on the international market," and using KitLocate to improve its own services, including in the personalization of mobile search and targeted advertising.

Those of Yandex’s mobile products that don’t need continuous GPS synching, such as our location-based search, cannot wait to be augmented by KitLocate’s smart solution," Yandex wrote in a separate blog post on the news. 

"With KitLocate’s technology, we’ll be able to deliver search results, as well as product or service offers, on the user’s mobile phone or tablet, relevant not only to a specific user, but also to their current location. This cloud solution looks especially promising for location-based recommendation apps."

Founded in 2011, KitLocate is a mobile location cloud app platform for iOS and Android. The company separated itself by focusing on energy-saving technology, consuming less that 1% per hour of a user's battery life.

Yandex highlighted this aspect of the technology in the blog post, writing "KitLocate's algorithms allow location-based apps to request the device's geographic coordinates less frequently without losing precision, which considerably extends the phone's life between charges."

For developers, KitLocate included geo-location tools like geo-fencing and motion detection, as well as smart location detection based on GPS, WiFi, Cell and accelerometer data and cloud-based app management tools.

The company also offered insights to marketers that it said would increase foot traffic, drive sales and reservations, and strengthen customer loyalty and brand awareness. 

Some of the industries that used KitLocate included retail, financial services, hospitality and tourism, government and civic engagement, parking and, of course, advertising agencies. Two of its customers Isracard, which uses KitLocate’s technology to deliver its offers to users’ phones based on their current location, and Pango, which provides on-street parking meter service to municipalities.

The Hertzelia, Israel-based company raised a $750,000 seed round in May of 2013 from Entree Capital and Yigal Jacoby.

This is not the first time that Yandex has had a relationship with an Israeli startup: it previously invested in facial recognition technology developer, which was later acquired by Facebook.

Neither Yandex, nor KitLocate, could be reached for further comment. 

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