Mobile Mania And The New Location Gold Rush

Location, location, location is back in vogue, but not just for real estate junkies. The smartphone has ushered in a new economy. I turn on my smartphone and I expect magic to happen and the world around me to come alive with reviews, information, and offers. I expect to consume.

The leverage created by the mobile phone and your location has generated an amazing pace of innovation around apps and platforms, a new gold rush, if you will. Location is not just about big American cities like New York and San Francisco. It’s global and it’s for every town, small and large. The entry price is low, the tools are available to everyone, and there are no geographical boundaries. As you will see over the course of this series, the venture capitalists are excited, the entrepreneurs are excited, and the media thinks we are in a bubble. Time will declare the victors.

In this series, we will undoubtedly look at daily deals, advertising, and the check-in. However, mobile location has the potential to go so much farther by turning regular consumer behavior into a new transaction economy.

The revenue potential of mobile location is a gold rush that looks thin at the surface based on today’s revenue attempts around coupons and advertising, but the valuations should remain high as investors sense the big revenue opportunities lie ahead. Professional investors love the opportunity of big returns and scalable businesses and they will not be scared off from early losses and disappointments.

"We love the fact that some of these revenue models are not yet clear to us because that creates opportunity. If it was clear to us, the large incumbents would be there competing. Start-ups have the benefit of maximum flexibility and maximum creativity," says Jon Callaghan, Founder & Managing Partner, True Ventures

The revenues and margins disrupted in old businesses will eventually find their way down the food chain to this generation of winners.

"No one is calling 411 anymore, so you're not paying $3 to call up to get a phone number. Instead, you're getting that in about 3 seconds on your smartphone," David Tisch, Investor & Managing Director, TechStars NYC, tells Fast Company.

Today, OpenTable.com (Nasdaq: OPEN) is a multi billion dollar public company focused on restaurant reservations, but location brings the software to life. The power of location allows Opentable to suggest nearby restaurants, and offers available inventory. The same goes for the incredibly-fast-growing Uber, the mobile application that sends a cab directly to you with the push of a button on your iPhone. These companies are leveraging mobile location to monetize routine tasks that took much more time and energy just a few years ago.

Read more Co.Location

Featured in this episode:

Jeff Clavier, Founder & Managing Partner, SoftTechVC

Jon Callaghan, Founder & Managing Partner, True Ventures

Eghosa Omoigui, Founder & Managing Partner, EchoVC

David Tisch, Investor & Managing Director, TechStars NYC

Marissa Campise, Vice President, Venrock

Tony Conrad, CEO& Co-Founder of About.me & Partner, True Ventures

Howard Lindzon is the cofounder and CEO of StockTwits--a social network for traders and investors to share real-time ideas and information. StockTwits was recently named one of the 10 Most Innovative Web Companies in 2011 by Fast Company and one of the 50 Best Websites by Time magazine.

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1 Comments

  • Angus Shee

    As location explodes, the mobile user's expectations for location-based experiences will rise.  Today, for the most part, these experiences are simply mini-versions of online (making reservations), or they are relegated to telling friends "I am here," (check-ins).  Looking at mobile user behavior, we see that the top smartphone actions all include some version of multimedia.  Taking videos and photos and including their own narrative.  If we expect users to engage with the world around them, we need to deliver location-based content and experiences in a format that makes sense for the mobile.  A highly visual interface delivering multimedia content, not data, through location.  But the experience can't end there. Content must act as a portal to transactions, communication, and web traffic. Tell me the story of the movie that was filmed at the coffee shop next door.  Show me the clip, tell me about the actors, and then let me buy the movie or add it to my Netflix queue.  Complete the cycle and let location be the context in which content is delivered.  That's when location gets interesting.
    Angus Shee
    Co-founder www.Tagwhat.com