Mobile Startup Locately Bought by SMG in “Good Win for Boston”

8/16/12Follow @gthuang

Locately is one of those startups that I’ve nibbled at around the edges, never fully sinking my teeth into. Now someone else has swallowed the company whole—but that’s not the end of the story.

The Boston mobile-tech company said today it has been acquired by market research firm Service Management Group (SMG), based in Kansas City, MO, in a cash deal. No financial details were given. Locately’s team will stay in its current Downtown Crossing office and continue building out its location-based mobile analytics technology, says co-founder and chief technology officer Drew Volpe.

“We’re going to keep the company fairly separate. We’ll keep the brand and the Boston office,” Volpe says. Locately has six full-time employees, and all are staying on. In fact, the team plans to expand, he says, though he didn’t give any specifics on growth yet.

Locately raised $300,000 in a seed round in 2010. Its investors included Boston-area techies such as Roy Rodenstein, David Cancel, Katie Rae and Reed Sturtevant (Project 11), Mike Volpe (Drew’s brother), and Aaron Kechley. The company also won $100,000 in the inaugural MassChallenge startup competition, and it received a couple of SBIR grants and a grant from MassVentures.

I pressed Volpe on how good a deal this was for all involved. “It’s a very good return for our investors,” he says. “We think it’s a good win for Boston. It’s good to get money flowing back into the ecosystem.”

It sounds like SMG was interested in Locately for its location-based technology and its relationships with big brands. “We’re the only people in the world who can trigger a mobile survey based on when someone walks into a store,” Volpe says. What’s more, he says, the startup was profitable and is on track to increase its revenues by more than 300 percent this year.

Locately started in late 2008 and is led by its founders, CEO Thaddeus Fulford-Jones, chief scientist Eric Weiss, and Volpe.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://twitter.com/aacook Alex Cook

    Awesome! I was lucky enough to have a cube next to Locately in the MC space for ~8 months. Drew and the Locately team are seriously awesome. Congrats!