Point Inside’s GPS for Shoppers Grows Revenue, Looks for More Investment

8/18/11Follow @curtwoodward

Josh Marti’s wife is one organized lady. When she sends him a text message with the night’s grocery shopping, it’s arranged like a roadmap to the whole store, with items listed in the order they’re found in the aisles for maximum turn-by-turn efficiency.

With four daughters at home, that list is one heck of a ruthless time-saver. But really, should she have to do that, with the location-aware minicomputers everyone carries around in their pockets these days?

Marti thinks it should be easier—and he’s working on a solution at Point Inside, the Seattle startup he co-founded with longtime collaborator Jon Croy. The company, founded in early 2009, is developing an indoor version of GPS by building interactive maps of shopping malls, big-box retailers, and airports.

Merchants and advertisers appear to be pretty hungry to develop the platform. Marti wouldn’t reveal actual sales figures, but says the startup’s revenue for 2010 came in double its goals. “And 2011 has already seen an increase on top of that, to the point where we’ve raised our estimates,” Marti says.

Clients include Continental and United Airlines, Clear Channel’s airport advertising branch, mall owner General Growth Properties, and Meijer, a regional retailer that operates big combination grocery-and-merchandise stores.

Big players are also looking at the indoor navigation sector, including Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which unveiled its own mobile mall maps just earlier this month. Marti says Bing’s move into mobile mall mapping is nowhere near an existential threat to his startup—instead, Point Inside sees the big guys getting involved as good partnership opportunities.

“I can confirm that we have formal relationships with large mapping players, whether they’re content providers or mapping companies,” Marti says. “We just don’t name who they are.”

In fact, he says, Point Inside has made a lot of its own mapping data available to companies like Google and Apple in an attempt to broaden adoption of interior location maps.

Point Inside had to expend lots of effort to get its mapping procedures down—projects that once took four months can now be banged out in four days. But getting big players … Next Page »

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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