Altman talks with CNBC partner site Re/Code about working with Y Combinator, and how he pitched Loopt’s deal to Boost, which had already chosen a different partner:
I had one of the many heart-sinking moments in the history of Loopt. Whoever Boost works with, Sprint will work with. And whoever Sprint works with, Verizon and AT&T will as well. So, they told us on the phone — this one thing they really wanted, the partner they were working with was not going to build. To this day, I don’t know who the partner was. So we stayed up all night, and we built that feature. It was status messages. I think I went to sleep at four, I slept till six, I got on a flight at seven to Orange County where Boost was. And I just got to that office and sat there, and the guy was like, ‘Weird, you’re in my office.’ I said, ‘Just meet me for 10 minutes, and let me know what you think.’
Altman discusses the $43.4 million cash buyout by Green Dot, which includes $9.8 million set aside in retention payments for key Loopt employees. Loopt’s services will be shut down and its Silicon Valley team will develop mobile services for the payments provider. Altman:
Many of the companies in the mobile location space are trying to figure out different ways to tie what they’re doing to commerce … We’ve all realized the critical piece is how you tie in commerce and payments.
Altman tells O’Reilly Media online managing editor Mac Slocum that Loopt is shifting from its focus on connecting people socially:
A big change over the last year has been an expansion of that to connect people to the places around them as well
Altman tells CrunchGear about Loopt’s plans, saying the company is aiming to focus on data over the coming year:
[…] we’ve really been focused more and more on [Facebook] Places, this hyper-specific data layer
He says the deals that work best for the company are things like free stuff being given away on a street corner for a limited time, or 50% off a restaurant for one night only:
The things that work the best are what we call flash deals, these are very, very time-limited, high-value, and they are pushed to the user.
Loopt raises a reported $15 million in the venture round.
The company raises $7.1 million from unnamed investors. (SEC filing here.)
Loopt raises a reported $12 million from its two existing investors, Sequoia Capital and NEA. It is reported to call down $2.25 million from the funding.
It will allow users of the Sprint subsidiary to share location, status updates, and other information, and is aimed at young and social subscribers.
Boost’s tagline asks the question ‘Where you at?’ And now Loopt’s social mapping service can answer that question for every Boost Mobile user.
Sequoia and NEA participate in the round for a reported $5 million.
Loopt joins the inaugural batch and receives a reported $6,000. Altman says the money-saving culture at Y Combinator, which extends to things like readymade meals, helps develop the location-based mobile app company develop:
That culture of frugality and discipline is really important for the Y Combinator mindset. The start-ups that do well are the ones that are working all the time.