The company raised a $90 million Series B round of funding last weekRead more...
How will people use location-based discover, and how Aloqa stacks up against competition
"We're bringing together your whole context," said Aloqa CEO Sanjeev Agrawal, in this second segment of a four-part interview I had with him recent. Sanjeev was responding to a question I asked about the difference between Aloqa, Loopt and Google Latitude.
Aloqa, which recently raised $1.5 million in venture funding from Wellington Partners and angel investors, recommends Facebook friends around you and relevant things to do. (See the first interview, in which Sanjeev talks about how Aloqa knows what to recommend). Loopt and Google Latitude are similar.
But Aloqa is more, Sanjeev suggested. Aloqa doesn't just help people discover which friends are nearby, it also recommends places to visit, events to attend and bargains to check out.
In this interview, we also talk about what the "killer app" is for location-based services, and, in particular, Aloqa.
Sanjeev said that it's hard to put a finger on what exactly the "killer app" will be because people will most likely want recommendations for different reasons. To that end, Aloqa is focused on four use cases, according to Sanjeev.
1) Static points of interest, like local coffee shops
2) Local events (plays, games, movies, book readings, etc.)
4) Sales and bargains
You'll have to watch the interview to hear Sanjeev explain why these are the four to focus on.
I also ask Sanjeev what the biggest challenge is today. Is the biggest challenge getting people to invite their Facebook friends to join Aloqa? Or is the biggest challenge getting information from local merchants so Aloqa can then make them discoverable to its members?
Sanjeev believes it's getting local merchants. In order to tackle that scale problem, Aloqa allows merchants to create their own channels. He hopes the self-publishing ability will drive merchant sign-ups.
Check out the interview. There's so much more that I didn't cover in this outline.
(Editor's note: Stay tuned for our upcoming interviews in which we discuss how Aloqa plans to make money.)
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Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs
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Loopt is a Silicon Valley based startup that has built a revolutionary social mapping service to change the way people use mobile phones to keep in touch with their friends. Loopt facilitates real-world interaction between friends and puts an end to frustrating missed connections.
Using location-based technologies, Loopt lets you know where your friends are by automatically updating maps on your mobile handset. Loopt even lets you send messages to nearby friends or receive automatic alerts when they're nearby so that you never miss an opportunity to meet. Loopt also lets you journal your life so that your friends can see what you're up to. With Loopt, mobile subscribers put themselves on the map.
Loopt is backed by venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates, the same firms that helped found Google, Yahoo!, PayPal and TiVo among many other technology innovators.
Loopt is available on Boost Mobile and Sprint Nextel and will be available on other major US carriers soon
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Aloqa has solved two problems for mobile users: it takes away the need to type search terms into browsers or other mobile applications to find something, and also proactively recommends interesting local opportunities to users on the go. Wherever they are, users can simply glance at their phones and see which friends, favorite businesses, events like music concerts, local offers and other interesting places are close by, without having to launch a browser or search application. Aloqa takes into account the user’s location, preferences and social relationships to make these recommendations in real time.
“Aloqa makes mobile phones a lot more useful. As a user, it’s painful launching browsers and typing or speaking into apps. And even if doing searches becomes easier on mobile, it still doesn’t solve a bigger issue – every day all of us miss out on all kinds of opportunities we aren’t even aware of such as discovering friends who happen to be close by, or that there are concerts happening locally that we’d like, or sales and bargains all around us. Aloqa solves both the search and discovery issues by utilizing a user’s context – their location, time, preferences, and relationships – to notify them in real time of friends, places, events, and entertainment opportunities around them without delays” said Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO of Aloqa.
Aloqa is the first company to provide mobile users with context relevant alerts and notifications. Based on their location, preferences and social relationships, Aloqa users see what’s close to them without having to type anything into a browser or search application: their favorite businesses and points of interest, deals / coupons nearby, music performances and events, and Facebook friends in proximity. As they move, Aloqa refreshes automatically, so users never miss a social opportunity, event, or bargain.
PLEASE NOTE: On July 16, Aloqa (www.aloqa.com) announced that it closed $1.5 million in series-A funding and opened a beta of its context-aware mobile application on Android handsets. Aloqa was also selected to demonstrate its application on stage at the MobileBeat Conference, hosted by VentureBeat in San Francisco, and was chosen as a "Winner of Tesla Award" -- The people's choice award at mobilebeat.
Aloqa has also received some glowing coverage and comments in TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, AndroidGuys and others. Seel: