In First Acquisition, SocialRadar Snaps Up Location Tech Firm

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socialradarSocialRadar, the location analytics startup founded by Blackboard founder Michael Chasen, has made its first acquisition. The company has snapped up Gridskippr, a startup specializing in location management and mobile advertising technology for smartphone apps. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In an interview with Street Fight this week, Chasen said the deal positions SocialRadar to deliver a more accurate set of location-based technology solutions, both within its consumer app and as an SDK for third party developers. Both companies have been working together since each was launched about a year ago.

“Over the last year SocialRadar worked closely with Gridskipper to develop technology for our consumer app that significantly improved location accuracy, reduced battery drain, and generated detailed insights on our users.” said Chasen.“We have spoken with numerous app developers who have requested this same type of functionality for use within their own applications. With the acquisition of Gridskipper, we can now provide this technology as an SDK for any mobile application.”

Chasen said the acquisition was an equity deal but declined to disclose any figures. It’s the first acquisition for Social Radar, but Chasen said the 26 acquisitions he oversaw as president and CEO of education platform Blackboard taught him what type of companies make good deals.

“What I learned is that the important thing to do during an acquisition is to find a company that does two things,” he said. “One is that it’s a technology or service you don’t have or that would take you a long time to develop the market. The second is a similar culture.”

He said he saw all of that in Gridskippr.

SocialRadar is still in its beta stage, but Chasen believes the acquisition will have an immediate impact on hyperlocal marketing if the app is adopted by enough users when it goes live later this year. He said the key is developing location technology that is more accurate and gathers more data than what is currently on the market. Chasen wants to make “significant movement” in the industry so smartphones will be able to tell  consumers exactly about their surroundings because it will know exactly where they are.

“This technology we’re building is very specifically targeted toward the hyperlocal market,” he said. “I believe the biggest trend going on in smartphone technology is location awareness. Right now, of course, you can look up what restaurants are around you if you want to eat. I believe we’re going even more hyperlocal. You’ll not only be able to see where you can eat in the area, you will also be able to see which of your friends is nearby.”

But the Chasen’s vision for the technology is more than just helping friend get lunch together. He said it also provides new opportunities for businesses.

“You can tell exactly who’s in your store because they’re broadcasting their location and sharing their information via social media with you,” he said. “That’s a huge benefit to the consumer — and to you as a vendor.”

Chasen says the acquisition will allow SocialRadar to allow consumers and businesses to get the most out of the technology they already utilize.

“A cellphone is a location beacon,” he said. “Everyone has a user profile for the cloud. At SocialRadar we’re trying to successfully combine those two so you can see who’s around you and how you’re connected to them.”

Mason Lerner is a contributor at Street Fight.