Ex-Autodesk employees develop GeoQpons; allows users to filterSAN RAFAEL – A team of former Autodesk employees has launched a product it hopes will be to mobile shopping what Groupon is to discounting.
XYMob [pronounced zeye-mob], whose founders combine location-based services, venture funding and mobile software expertise, released GeoQpons in time for the holiday shopping season.
Location-based mobile applications leverage a device’s GPS capability to show the user local points of interest, parks, stores, restaurants and commercial services in the area.
“GeoQpons provides a more compelling shopping experience compared to many other mobile coupon applications in the market today,” said XYMob CEO Sunit Lohtia. The team has designed its own platform, parts of which are patent pending.
Unlike mobile coupon applications that bombard users with offers, GeoQpons allows users to screen and filter coupons to fit their own shopping preferences, he said.
[caption id="attachment_27792" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Startup XYMob’s location-based coupon service is designed to enhance a shopper’s experience."][/caption]
“Our research showed that shoppers love to save, say, 10 percent on their purchases, but local coupons have a very low redemption rate because people don’t have the time to sift through all the offers manually, or they don’t remember to carry them when they’re out shopping,” he said.
“Our solution solves both issues.”
GeoQpons are already in use across the U.S., according to Chris Myers, corporate marketing and development director. XYMob doesn’t release user numbers, but the service is adding thousands of active users every day, he said.
“In the first month of release we’ve been ranked in the top five in the lifestyle category on the Apple iTunes App Store and in the top 20 of all free apps,” said Mr. Myers.
XYMob, with a five-employee team based in San Rafael and a group of mobile Internet programmers in India, is currently aggregating coupons representing more than 270 brands and thousands of local store offers distributed by networks such as Valpak, Money Mailer and MerchantCircle.
The free service is available on iPhones, Androids and BlackBerry devices.
“Our intent is to prove we have a consumer-pleasing application and the ability to build a solid user network. Then we’ll take our product to retailers and their marketing companies as a brand enhancement tool and way to acquire new customers,” he said.
Self-funded so far, XYMob will be closing a round of angel funding in early 2011.
Mr. Lohtia was the CTO of Autodesk Location-Based Services and Mr. Myers the business development director and CFO. The division built geocentric applications for wireless carriers like Sprint and Verizon Wireless.
In 2009, Autodesk decided to get out of the LBS application business and concentrate on design software. It sold its LBS division to Hale Capital Partners in New York, who set up LocationLogic to operate it.
Although LocationLogic has a presence in San Rafael, along with minority investment from Autodesk, “We decided to leverage our expertise to form our own company,” said Mr. Lohtia.
XYMob intends to build on GeoQpons, adding social networking features, among others. Already users can easily share coupons with their friends on Facebook and Twitter and via e-mail.