Do You Know Where Your Child (or Husband or Girlfriend) Is? Whereoscope Can Tell You

9/20/10Follow @wroush

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quite different. Kids are not inherently devious or malicious. They are forgetful, absolutely. But we are not trying to solve the case where you can’t convince your kid to tell you where he is.”

What about location privacy between adults? Is society really ready for the idea that we’ll all be trackable all the time? “As to the broader question about whether we as a society will become more relaxed about privacy in general, I honestly don’t know,” Johnson says. “When you talk to women, in particular, about the concept of sharing their location with anyone other than their partner, that’s an elephant that just doesn’t want to move. But one of the reasons we are going in this direction is that the precedent is clear. People have been doing this as a service from their cellular carrier. And the demand has always been there. This is a task that every family does in some way every day. You call to say when you’re getting home or when you’re going to practice. There just hasn’t been a really easy way to do that. So we hope the wind is at our back in terms of the technology and also social acceptance.”

How do you turn something like this into a big business? Won’t you need a big war chest for marketing? “We could go any of three ways,” says Johnson. “We could go with zero dollars and build this ourselves—we think the path to revenue is extremely close. Or we could take a small round and prove it out and build gradually. Or [we could] take a large round and really go. The interest to date has been phenomenal. Almost every investor we talked to, most of them have kids and they say ‘I can see this becoming huge.’”

Johnson sums up: “We honestly think this is a billion-dollar company. We think this is worth $10 [or $20 or $30] a month to families, and we think we can get 10 million families on it, no problem. We think eventually we can get 100 million families on it. The technology will be different, and we’ll have to scale to different platforms, and there will be different privacy requirements in different cultures. But for most people, at some stage in their lives, we see this almost as being another form of insurance. When you get a car, you get insurance. When your kids get to the age where they get their first phone, you get Whereoscope for a couple of years.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • http://wefightboredom.com MIchael Simmons

    I’m surprised by the suggested price point and by the methodology used to back into the market opportunity. We should put similar technology in shoes. Millions and millions of people wear shoes and you could have an interesting business.

    The app can be easily duplicated and duped and I’d predict app adoption rates never exceed 10,000 users. There will be even fewer paid users. The value prop is a tough sell from where I’m sitting.