WHAT: App that lets friends easily find each other and the shows them coffee shops, bars and restaurants where they can meet. Users can ask anyone in their address book, "Where Are You?" in one click. The friend can click "reply" to share their location or "ignore" to keep their location private.
Friends can use the map to select a location anywhere in world to meetup and use the app's chat function to discuss where they want to go. Users can share their location and find friends who have not downloaded the app with the web version of Echoecho or via SMS.
Available on four platforms: iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian. Echoecho will launch on WP7 at the end of September.
Short-term, real-time tracking for continuous location updates, groups and tablet functionality are in the works.
LAUNCHERS: Nick Bicanic, CTO. Andrew Wanliss-Orlebar, Head of Product.
WHY: People always want to know where their friends are, but texting back-and-forth about where to meet can be time consuming. People want to find friends with the least amount of effort possible. Check-in apps tell you where you friends were -- not where they are.
WHEN/WHERE: Sept. 8, 2011/ Los Angeles and London.
BACKSTORY: “I was in a situation where I couldn’t find a friend of mine and it frustrated me that both of us were using smartphones and our smartphones were used to finding locations by themselves, but they were particularly dumb about sharing that information with each other," Nick tells LAUNCH.
BUSINESS MODEL: Not yet determined. Echoecho wants local businesses to offer deals to users who choose their meeting place on Echoecho. Nick says the company is also working on making Echoecho a bidirectional API.
COMPETITION: Google Latitude. Foursquare. SMS. Phone calls.
ON TRADITIONAL LOCATION-BASED SERVICES: “[Google Latitude] is not something very many people do because real-time tracking has a detrimental impact on battery life and privacy,” Nick says. “The most cheeky way is that Google Ventures is investing in Echoecho. One has to wonder what that means for Latitude and how it’s being used.”
ON APPS LIKE FOURSQUARE: "Traditional location-based social networks are fairly anti-social," says Nick. "Most location-based services out there are based around the idea of pushing your locations from people. Echoecho is based on pulling locations from people.”
CUSTOMERS/GROWTH: "Tens of thousands of users registered within the first few hours," Nick tells LAUNCH. "While at the time, for what we launched they're solid figures, I'd rather not have those numbers out there because what we're launching now is so much more stable than what we launched before."
GOAL: "To be the fastest most simplest method for meeting up with friends in the world,” Nick says. He also envisions sending an echo as becoming "as ubiquitous as sending SMS."
WHO BACKED IT: Google Ventures and London-based PROFounders.
ON THE LAUNCH CONFERENCE: "Without LAUNCH, I wouldn't have met Don Dodge," Nick says. "Without meeting Don Dodge I wouldn't have met Google Ventures and the round wouldn't have happened."
TOTAL RAISED: $750K in seed funding.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 2 plus freelancers.
To ask a friend where they are, click the message icon to the right of their name.
A dialog box appears on the receiving end that prompts the user to "reply" with their location or "ignore."
Coffee shops, bars and restaurants to meet at appear on the map as orange and white icons. Hover over the icon to get the establishment's name and address.
After replying to an echo request, EchoChat lets friends discuss details.
On the receiving end, users can click "Accept" to confirm that they will meet or "Discuss" to further hash out the plan.
1. Echoecho presentation at the LAUNCH Conference (Feb. 23, 2011)
2. "Over a quarter of U.S. adults use location-based services" (CNET News, Sept. 6, 2011)
CONTACTS & LINKS
Email: nick at echome dot me
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