Push LBS startup Aloqa raises $1.5M

Push LBS startup Aloqa raises $1.5M
Last week a Germany-originated LBS startup called Aloqua was funded with $1.5 million from venture capital firm Wellington Partners. Along with the funding Aloqa appointed Sanjeev Agrawal, former Global Head of Google Product Marketing and subsequently VP Products at TellMe Networks (acquired by Microsoft), as CEO.

Agrawal defines Aloqa as: "A mobile service that proactively notifies you of interesting places, events, and Facebook friends near you. Instead of having to search, you can just look at your phone and see your favorite hotspots, friends, events of interest, and recommended bargains close by. You can customize Aloqa by deciding which “channels” you want from our “Channel Store” and what level of “alerts” you want each channel to be set to. The basic idea is simple: your phone should recommend people, places, events and opportunities you might find interesting and alert you of opportunities of interest around you".

Aloqa has opened a beta of its mobile application on Android handsets in USA and Germany. The company expects its service will be made fully available on most major mobile platforms through the fall of 2009. To locate Facebook friends Aloqa requires the use of Aloqa Buzz, its Facebook application that connects to its mobile service.

Aloqa presents its platform as being extremely efficient in terms of bandwidth and power requirement for the user’s mobile device. The platform supports an entire range of position-finding processes such as Cell ID, GPS, WLAN and GSM fingerprinting.

“What appealed to us about Aloqa is its proprietary technology for tracking billions of moving and static objects without draining mobile handset batteries, without jamming cellular networks with extra data, and without creating user privacy concerns,” said Ram Srinivasan, managing partner of Wellington Partners’ Palo Alto office. “The mobile app springs into action only when two or more objects come meaningfully close to each other. Apply that concept to people’s “social graph” and you have a powerful way for the mobile device to discover interests and add social context to the physical space immediately around you.”

Business model
Besides offering its own application that will be subsidized by advertising, Aloqa positions itself as a white label solution provider for wireless operators as well as a LBS platform provider for mobile application developers. A software development kit (SDK) is available for developers; as an example, mobile location-based coupon startup Yoose (also based in Munich) is using Aloqa’s technology.

In addition, the company has a SDK for Personal Navigation Devices manufacturers to deploy connected services such as gas prices, weather, traffic, parking, etc.

Aloqa was created in Munich in 2007 by Georg Treu and Johannes Martens, both researchers at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. With the appointment of a Silicon Valley-based CEO, the company has just opened an office in Palo Alto.

Monday, July 20th 2009

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