HearPlanet - a geoWeb iPhone app worth a look

Bambi Francisco Roizen · December 15, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/c67

Vator Box guest host Mayfield Fund partner Raj Kapoor says HearPlanet is in a hot space

For those who're not familiar with Vator Box, it's our version of Siskel & Ebert meets American Idol. We take one company's video pitch and put it in front of a guest host and our VB regular Ezra Roizen, digital media investment banker, and myself. The three of us then analyze the company's prospects. And, in some cases, the guest host gets very excited about the company. 

That's what happened in this latest episode with our guest host, Raj Kapoor, managing director at Mayfield Fund, a high-profile Silicon Valley venture firm. The company we looked at? HearPlanet, which lets a user retrieve information about the world around them. The content is mostly historical and educational content about points of interest hot spots. Think Lonely Planet on the go. HearPlanet was one of the 10 winners of the JuicePitcher competition and has also been downloaded half a million times on the iPhone.

Here are our observations:

- CEO and founder Steven Echtman grabbed the viewer right off the bat with a compelling video that captured our attention.

- There is a 'discovery' aspect about the service that gives it a Microsoft Bing appeal. 

- HearPlanet is in a hot space. It's one of the many companies targeting the "geoWeb" - an emerging term describing technology that allows content to be geographically referenced. Another catchphrase these days is "augmented reality," which refers to making  information accessible to you in the context of your location and in real time. HearPlanet is also part of this wave of new companies trying to deliver augmented reality. Essentially, HearPlanet is in a hot category. But it's also a crowded one with a number of competitors vying to provide relevant and personal information on the go. Some on Vator include Aloqa, Aha Mobile, Spreezio, Loopt and Siri

- HearPlanet should focus on delivering quality content. It shouldn't focus on a volume approach by aggregating information from users because the risk of turning off users with low quality content may be greater than the opportunity to amass quality content.

- Should HearPlanet go for quality content, it can raise its prices. It should then focus on impulse purchases to those traveling, who're likely to pay $4 vs. $1k  to get information about a tourist attraction. 

- HearPlanet may reduce its cost of producing content by focusing on certain geographies and really nailing those places to build a nice user experience around those areas. 

- HearPlanet will be challenged (like all iPhone app developers) to win an audience on the app store, which has some 100,000 apps on its shelves. The other challenge is distribution off of the app store. 

Be sure to follow HearPlanet by clicking the "follow HearPlanet" link below.

  Follow HearPlanet on Vator.tv

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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HearPlanet turns your cell phone into an audio guide to the world.

Get iPhone App Here: www.HearPlanet.com/appstore

Get Android App Here: http://bit.ly/hpandroidapp

 

We provide an immersive experience that connects you to your surroundings and delivers information in a way that doesn’t distract or slow you down.

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600,000 users have installed the HearPlanet iPhone/iPod Touch application and we cover 300,000 locations worldwide. We organize vast amounts of content from numerous sources and instantly deliver what’s most relevant to users. HearPlanet tells you what’s right around (using geolocation) and offers comprehensive search for everything else.

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