Hackett backs geolocation startup Geepers

Startup aims to be DNS for geographic positioning

Internode founder Simon Hackett at the Geepers launch in Sydney.

Internode founder Simon Hackett at the Geepers launch in Sydney.

An Australian geolocation startup backed by Internode founder Simon Hackett aims to do for geographic coordinates what Web domain names did for IP addresses.

Geepers, launched in Sydney last night, lets users choose a name and associate their current position and various geographic coordinates for home, work and other frequent locations to tags like “now,” “home” and “work”.

The geolocation platform, created by entrepreneur David Whitfield, is a dynamic database server with an API that can be viewed on the Web or accessed through smartphone apps and car GPS devices. It integrates with Google Maps and is an open platform designed to work across all mobile platforms.

A security setting to be released soon after the launch will allow users to choose among three levels of privacy, Whitfield said. Users can choose to make their locations open to anyone, only to people in their address book or only to specific people. Different privacy settings can be set for each location.

Whitfield said most of the funding for Geepers has come from family and friends and startup incubator BlueChilli. At the end of this year, the startup plans to go back to the market to raise money for its next development phase focusing on global expansion, he said.

Hackett said he learned about the startup through a conversation with BlueChilli. “I was excited about the notion of being part of building a namespace people could rely on, where you could say ‘So here’s my name, type it in and you can find me,’ and have that actually work.”

On his level of involvement, Hackett told Techworld Australia, “I’m contributing a few dollars and a whole lot of ideas that I keep raining down on the guys working on it here.”

The startup has targeted businesses in addition to consumers.

The app could be especially useful for parcel deliveries, said Hackett. Finding where to deliver a package can be a significant expense for couriers, he said. “And indeed, for consumers ... we’ve all had the annoying experience of the package going to the wrong place.”

A business with multiple delivery locations—for example a loading dock, the mailroom or front door—can register all of them to its username, said Whitfield. It’s also possible to set a dynamic delivery location that changes depending on the day of the week, so a package is automatically delivered where the recipient is working that day, he said.

Geepers is talking to several local and international logistics companies about how they can use the technology to improve parcel delivery. Fastway Couriers plans to trial Geepers in the Sydney metro area starting next week, Whitfield said. The companies were introduced by BlueChilli, he said.

The service is free for consumers, but small and medium enterprises pay $10 to $20 a year depending on the number of locations and categories associated with their name, Whitfield said. The price for bigger companies is negotiated, he said.

Other sources of revenue for Geepers may include locality-based marketing, brand marketing, map advertising and the database itself, Whitfield said.

While some tech companies have come under scrutiny for the way they handle customers’ geolocation information, Whitfield and Hackett said they do not plan to sell location-based data to third parties.

“The intention is to be the look-up service,” said Hackett.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Techworld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

Tags David WhitfieldSimon HackettGeepersGPSlocation-based servicesprivacygeolocation

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