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Why Commerce Is Critical For Mobile Location Companies

Posted on Mar 20, 2012

The opportunity to link up with commerce led the leader of a mobile location startup to sell to a banking company.

Green Dot, best known for its prepaid cards, recently acquired Loopt from CEO Sam Altman for $43.4 million.

We've been doing cool stuff with deals, offers and loyalty, but we haven't had a way to tie that to payments, Altman said in an article at All Things D. Now, instead of being about check-ins, it can be about payments.

Loopt was founded in 2005 as a passive location-tracking app. Users turned it on and the app found where your friends were located. In 2009, Loopt changed to a check-in model.

Now, it's one of several location apps to sell and shut down service recently, following others like Gowalla and Yobongo.

Deals, location and loyalty are all great, but not particularly useful on their own without connecting to commerce, notes a payments processing expert at US Dataworks.

Altman realizes the importance of that, too.

Many of the companies in the mobile location space are trying to figure out different ways to tie what they're doing to commerce, Altman told All Things D. We've all realized the critical piece is how you tie in commerce and payments.

Source: All Things D, March 2012