Mass Challenge, a big money business plan competition, is coming up in the news quite a bit (saw a mention of it in a Harvard Business Review article recently). From NECN:
Four startup companies with Boston connections are now $100,000 closer to success, thanks to winning top prizes from the Mass Challenge, a new entrepreneurship competition.
Among them: Locately, a four-man startup (plus some part-timers), a technology company that makes an interesting offer: Give us some of your privacy, and we’ll give you stuff — free iTunes gift cards, or free merchandise, free text messages, even free cash.
With Locately’s system, consumers signing up through their website agree to let companies track their travels by monitoring the GPS location chips in their smartphones or GPS-enabled cellphones. CEO Thaddeus Fulford-Jones said Locately’s customers — who so far include a fast-casual restaurant chain and a cable television property — get very useful data: “What people do and where they go.”
By correlating their cellphone movements to the locations of places these customers pass by, a company can find out “who’s a nightlifer, or who’s sports-interested, if they sometimes go to the White Mountains over the weekends, or if they go to the gym regularly. Getting a better picture of who the consumer is can help businesses connect better,” Fulford-Jones said. Other examples: Helping chain stores see where, based on their customers’ travels, they might need to open a new store, or where their most popular competition is getting business. He said he could also envision transit agencies using data from his company’s system to better identify where commuters and travelers are coming from and heading to, to optimize bus, subway, or train service and transit expansions.