Nine months ago, Australia-based Local Measure went through a major pivot and rebrand. Originally called Roamz, the startup was originally built to mine and aggregate data from social media so that consumers could share what was going on in a specific area with neighbors. After only 200,000 downloads and a failure to monetize, the company knew a change was in order.
With a name change and a new focus, the company now offers social analytics software to businesses. The company entered the U.S. market by scoring a deal to deliver interactive social content during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Within five weeks of its launch, Local Measure signed up more than 200 companies, including Australian airline Qantas. This led to new offices in Singapore and Miami.
In a recent interview with Street Fight, Local Measure VP Americas Ian Michael Farkas talked about the company’s new direction and the its plan to aggressively expand across the U.S.
As consumer-facing Roamz, the company was unable to get the traction it needed to get over the hump. Early indications are that your switch to an enterprise focus has been successful. What was the biggest challenge of pivoting the startup?
We realized there was a lot more value to the business [customer] rather than the consumer. The core of our business is location. We had already a basic understanding of how that worked. We were aggregating data that businesses were interested in. We knew that social media based on location had huge applications. We were very lucky that we had the opportunity to recruit great talent to explore different applications.
The challenge was that we needed to change the name of it, repackage it and really change the commercial side of it. On the tech side, it wasn’t as hard. The architecture was built in the same way as our original concept, but now aggregated customer feedback to help our clients is shaping our future.
You mentioned recruiting great talent. Local Measure was able to recruit former Twitter executive Sara Axelrod as COO and others to jump on board. How is having established pros like her on the team helping to establish a unique company culture?
We’ve experienced great growth in the last few months as the product and solution started to really click. We were committed to developing a unique solution that would really fit into the vision of our company. The recruiting of talent is driven by the fact that we need to add new sources of data and we need to integrate new platforms.
We share the same visions that we’re onto something very powerful because of the application and the value proposition that we have been able to achieve. There are a lot of things out there, but they way that we’ve built it, in terms of the funnels and the ability to respond is very unique to us. That application attracts talent and helped us build a culture with a shared vision.
You gather all the social media data being put out by consumers in real time, while they are still on site, repackage and get it directly to your clients. Can you explain why you think the service is unique and give an example of how it can benefit a business.
For years, businesses have used forms to get feedback, and then act on that two weeks later and realize what works and what doesn’t work. The ability to use social media content in real time by cutting through the noise using location data allows us to seamlessly — through integration and a user interface that is intuitive — react on a day-to-day basis very easily.
For instance, let’s say the client is a sports team. An angry fan is tweeting that he is leaving the game because he had to wait two hours in line to get a beer. We will make sure the team knows about the issue immediately so they can deal with it. There are no forms to fill out. The business is able to follow its customer experiences in real time, which opens up a huge range of possibilities.
You have mentioned sports twice. It seems obvious your application could have benefits for businesses under the sports umbrella that have thousands of people on location at once. Are sports franchises and leagues an area Local Measure plans on targeting aggressively?
You’re absolutely right. We have had a lot of success in this area in Australia and Asia, and I think that sports franchises will be the first ones lining up to connect with their fans. Sports franchises spend a huge amount of money on infrastructure to enhance their wifi capabilities, and they want to see some return. Sports teams are a very hot target for us and one that I will be very active pursuing.
For instance, we have the ability to alert a team when a fan goes to their stadium for the first time. In turn, they can welcome them with a personal introduction. We can tell them which fans are the most are the most active on social, and some of these fans have an insane amount of followers. We can tell them how many times an individual fan has been there over the course of a season.
Mason Lerner is a contributor to Street Fight.