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Loopt Underground
Type Private (venture-backed)
Founded 2005
Headquarters Mountain View, California
Key people Sam Altman, CEO
Industry Geosocial networking
Website www.loopt.com

Loopt is a company based in Mountain View, California, United States. It provides a cellphone-based GPS sharing system that allows users to visualize one another using their cell phones and share information. Loopt also enables users to explore the world around them by connecting users with integrated content from Yelp, Inc. and others.[1]

Loopt is available on over 100 mobile devices across all the major US networks,[2] Boost Mobile, Sprint Nextel, Verizon, AT&T, MetroPCS, select BlackBerry devices, the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1. In addition to the core features of Loopt, users also have the ability to integrate Loopt with other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter[1]. Loopt also offers a Journal widget which displays a user's latest updates and photos visually on a map, which they can easily install on their blog or other site[3].

The company was founded in 2005 and received initial funding from Y Combinator.[4] Loopt has completed Series A and B financing led by Sequoia Capital[5] and New Enterprise Associates.[6] Loopt board members include TiVo-founder Mike Ramsay and Greg McAdoo of Sequoia Capital.[7]

Contents

History

Loopt began in Summer 2005 with seed funding from Y Combinator,[8] a venture firm specializing in early stage startups. That summer, Stanford sophomores Sam Altman and Nick Sivo worked to build the first prototype of Loopt. They were later joined by Alok Deshpande as well as two of Sam’s childhood friends, Rick & Tom Pernikoff.[4]

Loopt received US$5 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates and struck a deal to launch the service on Boost Mobile devices in September 2006. Boost Mobile featured Loopt in a series of commercials that are most known for the “Where you at?” tag line[9]

In August 2007, Loopt expanded the service to select Sprint phones, and in June 2008, to Verizon. Loopt announced support for most GPS-enabled Blackberries on June 13, 2008.[10] Loopt received US$8.25 million in Series B funding in July 2007.

In February 2008, Loopt and CBS did a deal to deliver location based advertising.[11] Seven months later, Loopt released an opt-in feature in Loopt's iPhone application called, Loopt Mix, which uses location-based services to enable iPhone users to find and meet new people nearby.

At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2008, Sam Altman presented the Loopt application for the iPhone. Loopt for the iPhone became available to US customers of the Apple iTunes App Store on July 11, 2008. The application is not yet available in other countries.[12]

In the summer of 2008, Loopt sponsored Black20.com's The Middle Show with host Dave Price.

In October 2008, Loopt was sued by Earthcomber for patent infringement.[13] The case was dropped by Earthcomber in March 2009.[14]

In February 2009, Loopt expanded service again to select AT&T phones, making it the first service since SMS available across all major networks.

Products and services

Loopt's geosocial networking services, similar to the likes of whrrl, buzzd, and brightkite, show users where friends are located and what they are doing via maps on their mobile phones. It is available on select devices across Sprint/Nextel, AT&T, Boost Mobile, Verizon, and MetroPCS, as well as the iPhone, Android and the BlackBerry.

Mobile application: the Loopt software, with the exception of the iPhone (as of September 2008), provides real-time location updating. Users can update location and status and share with friends. Loopt is currently supported on over 100 different phones across all major carriers.[2]

Website: Loopt provides a web portal which is synchronized with the mobile version of the service.

Facebook application: The application was developed in 2008 for users to share location with friends in the Facebook network.

Twitter and Facebook integration: Status updates with a location link can be sent via Loopt to a user's Twitter status or Facebook status.

Loopt for the iPhone: In addition to the location and status updating, Loopt integrated Yelp! content into the iPhone version of the service. the iPhone application was also the first to have Twitter integration.

SMS invitation issues

Users of Loopt must register their cell phone number, full name, and date of birth. Loopt's privacy notice states that users can control who receives geo-location information via privacy settings.

When Loopt released its native iPhone application on July 10, 2008, the software quickly gained notoriety for sending Short Message Service (SMS) invites to users' address books without, it seemed, the user's knowledge. More upsetting, the SMS service failed to respond to the industry required STOP message.[15] Merlin Mann complained, "I'm getting SMSs from Loopt users asking me to be their friend or whatever. I never asked for this. SMSs cost money."

On July 14, 2008, Loopt posted to its blog that the mass invites could be attributed to a confusing user interface, and they are working on an improved invitation flow. The comments, however, point out they continue to ignore STOP messages[16] (a command that automated text-message services use which is supposed to allow people to control whether they receive messages). Respect for STOP was announced July 15, 2008[17], and on July 17, 2008, Loopt released an updated version which addressed the issues with the confusing user interface.[18]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Yelp and Loopt Link: New Features for the iPhone". http://www.looptblog.com/2008/07/yelp-and-loopt.html. 
  2. ^ a b including "Loopt Supported Phones". http://www.loopt.com/phones including. 
  3. ^ "Loopt Journal Wdiget". http://www.looptblog.com/2008/10/widget.html. 
  4. ^ a b "Loopt: How it all began...". http://www.loopt.com/about/history. 
  5. ^ "Sequoia Capital provides funding to Loopt". http://www.sequoiacap.com/company/loopt/. 
  6. ^ "New Enterprise Associates provides funding to Loopt". http://www.nea.com/PortfolioCompanies/IT/ConsumerTechnology/. 
  7. ^ "Loopt Board of Directors". http://www.loopt.com/about/board. 
  8. ^ "Crunchbase Profile of Loopt". http://www.crunchbase.com/company/loopt. 
  9. ^ ."Boost Loopt Commercial". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew94okDkCwU. 
  10. ^ "Loopt now supports Blackberry". http://www.looptblog.com/2008/06/loopt-is-now-su.html. 
  11. ^ "Loopt and CBS Mobile Partner for GPS Location-Based Ads". http://mashable.com/2008/02/06/loopt-cbs-mobile/. 
  12. ^ "Loopt in Oz". http://getsatisfaction.com/loopt/topics/loopt_in_oz. 
  13. ^ Earthcomber Cries Patent Infringement Against Loopt
  14. ^ "Earthcomber drops patent lawsuit against TechCrunch, Loopt". http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/23/earthcomber-drops-patent-lawsuit-against-techcrunch-loopt/. 
  15. ^ ""getsatisfaction.com: How can I never receive another Loopt SMS invitation ever?"". http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/07/loopt_social_ne.html. 
  16. ^ ""Loopt In: iPhone Invite Confusion"". http://loopt.typepad.com/loopt/2008/07/iphone-invite-c.html. 
  17. ^ ""Loopt In: Improved iPhone Invites"". http://loopt.typepad.com/loopt/2008/07/sorry-everyone.html. 
  18. ^ ""Loopt In: Get new version of Loopt for iPhone now!"". http://www.looptblog.com/2008/07/get-new-version.html. 

External links

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