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Where, Inc.
Private, venture-backed
Industry Mobile GPS application development
Founded 2004; 13 years ago (2004)
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts
Key people
Walt Doyle, CEO, David Chang COO
Website www.where.com

Where, Inc. was a location-based media company in North America. Their main products were the WHERE consumer application and WHERE Ads, a hyper-local ad network that connected merchants with local audiences. PayPal announced its acquisition of Where, Inc. in 2011[1] for $135 million.[2]


Where, Inc. was founded in 2004 under the name uLocate Communications, Inc. by partners, Geoff Palmer, Frank Schroth, and Alan Phillips.[3] uLocate spent its early days creating family tracking services as well as building location based applications for companies such as MapQuest and Helio. In 2007, WHERE launched as a location-based mobile service for consumers.[4]

WHERE provides hyper-local information and user generated content about weather, news, movies, restaurant and business reviews, cheap gas, coupons and offers, traffic, etc.[5] 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.[6] In 2010, the company grew to over 50 people, moving into larger facilities in Boston.[7] During this year, it launched the Placebook feature,[8] which Facebook contested due to its last syllable of "book".[9]

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 and Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media.



The consumer site Where.com launched in March 2010.[10] 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.

WHERE Ads[edit]

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.[11] In May 2012, WHERE Ads became PayPal Media Network (PPMN), with multi-media solutions that increase awareness for retailers, manufacturers, and restaurants and drive consumer transactions. As one of the major location-targeted mobile advertising networks, they 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.[12]


The firm possesses several patents including one for geo-fencing location technology[13] and one for auto-snap location technology.


WHERE is available in North America and can be downloaded for a monthly fee[14] 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.

Wireless carriers — AT&T, Boost Mobile, Helio, MetroPCS, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, Virgin

Mobile smartphone devices — Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm, Windows Phone 7[15]

PayPal/eBay Acquisition[edit]

Management Team[edit]

PayPal acquired Where.com in 2011. At the time, the management consisted of the following:

Mergers & Acquisition Comparables[edit]

In the mobile industry, there have been several notable acquisitions of Boston area startups by larger technology companies:


Unlike many other acquisitions in the mobile industry, WHERE continued to grow its Boston-based presence after its acquisition. In January 2012, PayPal President 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.[23] After exploring nearly a dozen potential new office sites in Boston, PayPal selected One International Place as its new location for its Boston headquarters.[24]

In 2013, the eBay Boston office houses several operating entities including PayPal, StubHub, and Start Tank.

Start Tank[edit]

The Start Tank is a business incubator hosted by PayPal, which offers free co-working space for early-stage startups.


Start Tank originated in Boston and expanded to Europe and Asia. With 20 startups, representing over 80 people, Start Tank Boston is unique in its size—one of the largest facilities in Massachusetts that has been dedicated to startups by a corporate entity. There are several similar efforts at eBay including Friends of eBay in New York and PayPal Startup Blueprint, and PayPal incubator in Chennai.[25] These are part of a broader growing trend of business incubators and seed accelerators sponsored by corporate entities and technology companies.[26]

The Start Tank was officially unveiled during the PayPal Boston launch event with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Secretary Greg Bialecki in February 2013.[27] The first class of startups consisted of 15 companies based in the Boston area.[28][29] The second class started in September 2013 and consisted of 22 startups.[30] A number of these startups gained market traction, raised funds of their own, and soon graduated from the program.[31]


The Start Tank gained greater visibility in the Boston area, and by time the third class moved in during March 2014, the program became more selective, accepting only 14 out of 80 applications.[32] It was later named as one of Boston Globe's Game Changers.[33] In summer 2014, the program partnered with The Ad Club to add events such as the Brand-a-thon[34][35][36][37][38][39] to engage with the startup ecosystem and expanded globally to London and Chennai.[40] Later that year, the Start Tank program became more competitive, accepting 11% of its applicants in its fourth class.[41] At this time, Start Tank was nominated as a 50 on Fire finalist.[42] In 2016, the program expanded to Singapore.[43]


The Start Tank was founded by PayPal executive David Chang[44], who was named to Boston Business Journal's annual Power 50 List of influential Bostonians[45] after its creation. In 2015, as part of the corporate separation of PayPal from eBay, approximately one-third of the staff in the PayPal Boston office was eliminated,[46] leaving the future of Start Tank uncertain.[47] It was later revealed that the Boston-based entity was split off and was acquired by MassChallenge.[48][49][50]


  1. ^ Rao, Leena (20 April 2011). "eBay Acquires Location-Based Media and Advertising Company WHERE". TechCrunch. 
  2. ^ Gomer, Gregory (20 April 2011). "Retail Giant Ebay Acquires Where for $135 Million". BostInno. 
  3. ^ "Ulocate People: Quarkbase." Website Information, Analysis & Research Tool". Quarkbase. 22 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Wells, Antonio (15 February 2010). "Interview with Ivan Mitrovic, VP of Technology at ULocate Communications, Creator of WHERE". Android Tapp. 
  5. ^ "WHERE by Ulocate". GetJar. 21 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Roush, Wade (10 July 2008). "Apple Launches iPhone App Store Ahead of Schedule; Boston and Seattle Startups Featured". Xconomy. 
  7. ^ Moore, Galen (31 May 2010). "Talent Wars". Boston Business Journal. 
  8. ^ Hardawar, Devrinda (17 March 2010). "Where Brings Its Local Search Service to Where.com with Mobile App Sync". VentureBeat. 
  9. ^ Kronenberg, Jerry (2 October 2010). "Local firm in trademark fight over 'Placebook'". Boston Herald. 
  10. ^ Roush, Wade (18 March 2010). "ULocate Is Where, Now? Exactly. Editorial". Xconomy. 
  11. ^ Malik, Om (9 March 2010). "Where, a Geo App, Launches a Local Mobile Ad Network". GigaOM. 
  12. ^ Dwyer, Sam. "One Year After Acquisition WHERE Ads Rebrands as PayPal Media Network". BostInno. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (21 December 2010). "Where Is Awarded the Mother of All Geofencing Patents". TechCrunch. 
  14. ^ http://forums.att.com/t5/Android-Discussion-and-Support/WHERE-app-has-monthly-charges/td-p/1995344
  15. ^ "WP7 Apps: Where App for Windows Phone 7". 1800PocketPC. 29 September 2010. 
  16. ^ "VeriSign Signs Pact To Acquire m-Qube". The Wall Street Journal. 20 March 2006. 
  17. ^ Marshall, Matt (15 May 2007). "AOL acquires Third Screen Media, mobile ad company — consolidation begins". VentureBeat. 
  18. ^ Riley, Duncan (16 September 2007). "Nokia To Acquire Mobile Advertising Firm Enpocket". TechCrunch. 
  19. ^ Swisher, Kara (4 January 2010). "Exclusive: Apple to Buy Quattro Wireless for $275 Million". All Things D. 
  20. ^ Huang, Gregory (5 February 2013). "Twitter's Boston Acquisitions: Crashlytics Tops $100M, Bluefin Labs Close Behind". Xconomy. 
  21. ^ Turner, Nick & Frier, Sarah (14 August 2013). "Millennial Media Will Acquire Jumptap for About $225 Million". Bloomberg. 
  22. ^ Alspach, Kyle (23 September 2014). "Nexage acquired by Jumptap buyer Millennial Media for $108 million". Boston Globe. 
  23. ^ Kirsner, Scott (12 January 2012). "PayPal in talks with state officials to expand Boston office". Boston Globe. 
  24. ^ Farrell, Michael. "PayPal move bringing tech to Financial District". Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "PayPal to host incubation centre in Chennai". The Hindu. 12 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Companies setting aside space for startups". Boston Globe. 2 March 2014. 
  27. ^ Farrell, Michael (28 February 2013). "PayPal setting up shop in Boston". The Boston Globe. 
  28. ^ Moore, Galen (26 July 2013). "Eight Boston startups you probably haven't heard of – but PayPal has". Boston Business Journal. 
  29. ^ Moore, Galen (15 October 2013). "Four things to know about PayPal's Boston office". Boston Business Journal. 
  30. ^ Keohane, Dennis (25 September 2013). "David Chang and PayPal Boston Pay it Forward with Start Tank". VentureFizz. 
  31. ^ Bernard, Gillis (29 January 2014). "8 Companies Outgrowing PayPal's StartTank". BostInno. 
  32. ^ Kirsner, Scott (28 February 2014). "14 startups that just nabbed free space at PayPal's Start Tank". Boston Globe. 
  33. ^ Keohane, Dennis. "Where big ideas are hatched: Incubators and accelerators". Boston Globe. 
  34. ^ Leung, Shirley. "This 'Brand-a-thon' could lead to some beautiful relationships". Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  35. ^ Bernard, Gillis. "The 17 Startups Bidding for Free Creative at the Brand-a-Thon". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  36. ^ Boyle, Josh. "BRAND-A-THON: 'Mad Men' Meets the Startup World". 
  37. ^ Bernard, Gillis. "The 3 Boston Agencies Whose Imaginative Creative Won Them the Inaugural Brand-a-Thon". 
  38. ^ Shen, Chen. "Cake-batter-in-a-can startup Spray Cake wins 'brand-a-thon' (Video)". 
  39. ^ Nudd, Tim. "8 New England Agencies Had 72 Hours Each to Brand a Startup. Here's the Winning Entry". Adweek. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  40. ^ Bernard, Gillis. "PayPal Start Tank to Roll Out Boston-Born Startup Incubator in London & Chennai". 
  41. ^ Kirsner, Scott. "PayPal's Start Tank opens its doors to six more startups". Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  42. ^ Landry, Lauren. "Meet 8 of the 50 on Fire Tech Nominees Making Their Mark on Boston". BostInno. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  43. ^ "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". www.techinasia.com. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  44. ^ Rosen, Andy (24 June 2017). "Five things you should know about David Chang". Boston Globe. 
  45. ^ "BBJ announces Power 50 list". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  46. ^ "PayPal's David Chang out as head of Boston office - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  47. ^ "David Chang Has Departed PayPal Boston; What's next for StartTank?". BostInno. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  48. ^ "MassChallenge Takes Over Start Tank Incubator From PayPal | Xconomy". 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
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