DC’s SocialRadar Acquires Gridskippr to Provide High-Accuracy Location Tech to App Developers

SocialRadar, the Washington, D.C.-based startup that utilizes geo-location data from social networks to provide real-time information on people nearby, announced this morning that it has acquired the Baltimore, MD-based startup Gridskippr, which has experienced its own success through its advanced location manager and mobile advertising technology for smartphone apps. As a result of this acquisition, SocialRadar can further its goals of providing comprehensive location-based tools and technology not only in its own consumer app but – more importantly – through a new SDK offering for third-party app developers wanting to use its advanced location manager and customer insights capabilities.

“We started SocialRadar with the idea to build a consumer app that can provide real-time info on the people around you[…]and do that with high accuracy without draining the battery,” said founder and CEO Michael Chasen. “When we released SocialRadar, people were like ‘I want to do that with my app’…It just makes sense for us to offer this technology to other people – to offer this tech to any developer wanting to use high-accuracy location services in their app.”

The new SocialRadar SDK will be offered as a free platform for mobile app developers interested in utilizing high-accuracy location-based services that can provide comprehensive consumer insights (such as determining what venues consumers frequent and observing their shopping habits) all while requiring minimal battery use (at a rate of 2.5 percent per hour compared to the 8 to 14 percent per hour rates by location-services apps on the market. Through an advanced location manager, SocialRadar’s SDK enables highly accurate location information with a 2-meter precision compared to existing location smartphone technology that can only provide 10-meter or even 100-meter precision. The SDK also provides exact venue and event information on users, as well as data on whether and how users are connected to each other. Monetary value-wise, the platform’s data monetization module gives companies a way to generate revenue by sharing the location data of their user base to advertisers that can create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.


Left: raw location data gathered from Apple’s location manager. Right: refined location provided through the SocialRadar SDK. (via SocialRadar)

Simply put: SocialRadar’s SDK will feature many of the capabilities currently featured on its consumer app which launched first for iOS in January of this year. The company’s acquisition makes the most sense for the long-term goals of SocialRadar, and sets in stone the relationship the company has had with Gridskippr; indeed, over the past year, the two companies have worked together to develop and improve the precise location technology in SocialRadar’s consumer app. With the introduction of the SocialRadar SDK, Chasen notes that their consumer app isn’t going anywhere; rather, the SDK will allow the company to pursue both a B2C and a B2B strategy.

“The consumer app is still very important to us…Whereas before, SocialRadar was just focused on [our consumer app], we’re now really focused on just building this technology overall,” said Chasen. “As I see it, there are really two main kinds of groups that benefit [from the SocialRadar SDK]: people that need better location technology and people currently using location tech who want to monetize their user base.”

When it comes down to it, the company’s pivot to focus additionally on a B2B model through the release of the SocialRadar SDK is a move that can potentially turn the company into the leading player in location services. And, honestly, it’s pretty surprising that it’s taken them so long to offer it; SocialRadar’s location technology is undeniably top-tier and the amount of consumer data it can provide is something many companies desire. It’s no secret that the company has struggled in retaining users for its consumer app – for months, speculations have been made in the DC tech community about the future of SocialRadar – and this new strategy is refreshing and much-needed. Not only will it highlight the true power of the technology created by SocialRadar and Gridskippr, but it can also lead to the increase of its own user base. Over time, the company will hopefully become the next company to put DC tech on the map.

For app developers interested in the SocialRadar SDK, visit SocialRadar.com/SDK to sign up for exclusive access.

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Written by:
Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.
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