Glympse was founded in March 2008 in Redmond, Washington, by former Microsoft employees Bryan Trussel, Steve Miller and Jeremy Mercer. “One year ago when we were looking at the location-based services market, there were a couple of unsolved problems we wanted to nail”, explained Bryan Trussel, the CEO of the company. “The most important things were to make the service very simple to use but also to address people's concern about privacy. This is how we came up with the concept of Glympse.”
This service is particularly interesting because it is hassle-free for the person receiving the location: no need to sign up to any network, download whatever application or even have a sophisticated phone: a web browser is enough. From the application side the service is simple (simplistic?) and straightforward: select or enter a phone number or email for one or more contacts, set the duration you want your location to be visible to the recipients, and hit send.
Glympse has a staff of eight people and has been funded by business angels. “We are not looking for immediate additional funding,“ said Trussel. His business model is relatively standard for a free location-based service: get to a critical mass of users, then sell advertising, premium features on the top of the basic free service and white label licensing to handset manufacturers or wireless operators.
The good thing for Glympse is that they have likely created a viral application: every time you share your location with a new person, you are de facto becoming a marketing volunteer for Glympse. The bad thing is that the technology behind this application is rather simple to replicate. It is likely that many friend finder applications will have soon a Glympse-like feature.