|Industry||Mobile GPS application development|
|Key people||Walt Doyle, CEO, David Chang COO|
Where, Inc. is a location-based media company in North America. Their main product is the WHERE consumer application, with over 3 million active users. It helps users discover, save and share local places by putting high quality local information at users’ fingertips and integrating promotional and discount offers from local merchants. WHERE is a top ranked application on all mobile platforms and carriers. WHERE Ads is the firm’s hyper-local ad network, connecting merchants with local audiences. It delivers over 3 billion hyper-local ads monthly to over 300 publishers. PayPal, a subsidiary of eBay, announced its acquisition of Where, Inc. in 2011. Boston Innovation reported the acquisition price at $135 million.
Where, Inc. was founded in 2004 under the name uLocate Communications, Inc. by partners, Geoff Palmer, Frank Schroth, and Alan Phillips. uLocate spent its early days creating family tracking services as well as building location based applications for companies such as MapQuest and Helio. In March 2007, WHERE launched as a location-based mobile service. The goal of WHERE is to provide local search content that helps consumers save time and money.
WHERE provides hyper-local information and user generated content about weather, news, movies, restaurant and business reviews, cheap gas, coupons and offers, traffic, etc. Brands such as Starbucks, Yellow Pages and Zipcar use WHERE to reach local audiences by providing data for various features within WHERE. For example, a Starbucks feature lets users search for and find directions to the Starbucks nearest their current location. WHERE also includes features that allow people to review locations and keep lists of places they’ve been and places they want to go.
In 2010, the company grew to over 50 people, moving into larger facilities in Boston. During this year, it launched the Placebook feature, which enables consumers to store lists of places from their mobile devices or from Where.com. Facebook contested the Placebook name due to its last syllable of "book".
The company was venture-backed by Kodiak Venture Partners, Grand Banks Capital and Venrock and based in Boston. Prior to its acquisition by eBay in 2011, several industry experts sat on its board including Craig Forman.
The consumer site Where.com launched in March 2010. The Website is a local search and recommendation portal that allows people to find local events, read reviews and other business information, and write their own reviews. On Where.com, people can also create their own user accounts or use their current WHERE mobile application account information to build a personal profile. Personal profiles allow people to store lists of places they’ve been to, places they want to go to and places they’ve reviewed. Where.com syncs with the mobile WHERE.
WHERE Ads is a hyper-local ad network that localizes traditional advertising techniques with improved performance for better results. Ads engage consumers through location relevance, design optimizing, and delivery format flexibility. As of January 2011, WHERE Ads is the 6th largest mobile ad network in the United States.
In May 2012, WHERE Ads became PayPal Media Network (PPMN), with multi-media solutions designed to increase awareness and help drive consumer transactions for retailers, manufacturers, and restaurants. They have branched out into online, but their position as one of the largest location-targeted mobile advertising network remains the same, and they still believe that location is one of the most relevant targeting parameters available for advertising on a mobile device and helping drive consumers to engage with brands online and offline. Alongside PayPal’s ground-breaking initiatives to enable payment in the physical world, PayPal Media Network offers brands, retailers, restaurants, uniquely effective media solutions for their online and offline businesses.
The firm possesses several patents including one for geo-fencing location technology and one for auto-snap location technology.
WHERE is available in North America and can be downloaded for free from the Android Market, BlackBerry App World, iOS App Store, and Palm App Catalog. WHERE is also available from the AT&T MEdia Mall, T-Mobile web2go, and VZW V Cast Apps.
In the mobile industry, there have been several notable acquisitions of Boston-based startups by larger technology companies:
- VeriSign's acquisition of m-Qube for $250M in 2006
- AOL's acquisition of Third Screen Media for $107M in 2007
- Nokia's acquisition of Enpocket in 2007
- Apple's acquisition of Quattro Wireless for $275M in 2010
- Millennial Media's acquisition of Jumptap for $225M in 2013
Unlike the above, WHERE continued to grow its Boston-based presence after its acquisition. In January 2012, the President of PayPal Scott Thompson, local executives Walt Doyle, and David Chang met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to discuss an expansion of California-based PayPal into Boston.
In 2013, the eBay Boston office houses several operating entities including PayPal, StubHub, and Start Tank.
The Start Tank is an incubator hosted by PayPal in Boston and offers free co-working space for early-stage startups. There are several similar efforts at eBay including Friends of eBay in New York and PayPal Startup Blueprint, and PayPal incubator in Chennai. These are part of a broader growing trend of incubators and accelerators sponsored by corporate entities and technology companies.
The Start Tank was officially unveiled during the PayPal Boston launch event with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Secretary Greg Bialecki in February 2013. The first class of startups consisted of 15 companies based in the Boston area. The second class started in September 2013 and consisted of 22 startups.
- Rao, Leena (20 April 2011). "eBay Acquires Location-Based Media and Advertising Company WHERE". TechCrunch.
- Gomer, Gregory (20 April 2011). "Retail Giant Ebay Acquires Where for $135 Million". BostInno.
- "Ulocate People: Quarkbase." Website Information, Analysis & Research Tool". Quarkbase. 22 March 2010.
- Wells, Antonio (15 February 2010). "Interview with Ivan Mitrovic, VP of Technology at ULocate Communications, Creator of WHERE". Android Tapp.
- "WHERE by Ulocate". GetJar. 21 March 2010.
- Roush, Wade (10 July 2008). "Apple Launches iPhone App Store Ahead of Schedule; Boston and Seattle Startups Featured". Xconomy.
- Moore, Galen (31 May 2010). "Talent Wars". Boston Business Journal.
- Hardawar, Devrinda (17 March 2010). "Where Brings Its Local Search Service to Where.com with Mobile App Sync". VentureBeat.
- Kronenberg, Jerry (2 October 2010). "Local firm in trademark fight over 'Placebook'". Boston Herald.
- Roush, Wade (18 March 2010). "ULocate Is Where, Now? Exactly. Editorial". Xconomy.
- Malik, Om (9 March 2010). "Where, a Geo App, Launches a Local Mobile Ad Network". GigaOM.
- Schonfeld, Erick (21 December 2010). "Where Is Awarded the Mother of All Geofencing Patents". TechCrunch.
- "WP7 Apps: Where App for Windows Phone 7". 1800PocketPC. 29 September 2010.
- "VeriSign Signs Pact To Acquire m-Qube". The Wall Street Journal. 20 March 2006.
- Marshall, Matt (15 May 2007). "AOL acquires Third Screen Media, mobile ad company — consolidation begins". VentureBeat.
- Riley, Duncan (16 September 2007). "Nokia To Acquire Mobile Advertising Firm Enpocket". TechCrunch.
- Swisher, Kara (4 January 2010). "Exclusive: Apple to Buy Quattro Wireless for $275 Million". All Things D.
- Turner, Nick & Frier, Sarah (14 August 2013). "Millennial Media Will Acquire Jumptap for About $225 Million". Bloomberg.
- Kirsner, Scott (12 January 2012). "PayPal in talks with state officials to expand Boston office". Boston Globe.
- "PayPal to host incubation centre in Chennai". The Hindu. 12 November 2013.
- Farrell, Michael (28 February 2013). "PayPal setting up shop in Boston". The Boston Globe.
- Moore, Galen (26 July 2013). "Eight Boston startups you probably haven't heard of – but PayPal has". Boston Business Journal.
- Moore, Galen (15 October 2013). "Four things to know about PayPal's Boston office". Boston Business Journal.
- Keohane, Dennis (25 September 2013). "David Chang and PayPal Boston Pay it Forward with Start Tank". VentureFizz.
- Official website
- PayPal Start Tank
- iPhone App Store featuring WHERE
- Blackberry Application Store featuring WHERE