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Companies in the United States continue to pop up offering location-based check-ins and mobile social networking, but what about Europe? Now staking a claim is France-based mobile social network Plyce, which today announced its official launch and first round of funding.
Plyce is currently available on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. A quick look at the application and one can definitely see a mixture of what’s currently available in terms of location-based services and mobile marketing. The company takes a big chunk of what popular check-in game Foursquare is currently doing and allows users to share their locations and highlight other venues in the area. If a location is not listed, the user can create it.
Users can also add comments and pictures to the specific location, creating a story board for friends who have agreed to follow each other. The company gives several examples, one of which highlights a Plyce user at a concert, the phone buzzes and they’re instantly notified that their friends happen to be at the same location as well.
While from the user perspective the application closely mirrors what may be already available, the company is focused on Europe and claims that it wants to be the leader within three years. Where Plyce adds real value and is looking to monetize is around local businesses who are looking to take marketing and advertising dollars online and into mobile, an industry projected to reach $4 billion dollars by 2015 according to the Coda Research Consultancy. While specifics on how the company will help local businesses create brand loyalty and drive foot-traffic weren’t disclosed, the company’s announcement did note that a possibility could be to replace the old paper loyalty card with an electronic card with new potential.
Europe seems to be to be a less saturated market for location-based mobile networks than the U.S. However, several companies already look like they’re leading the pack, including Netherland-based GeoSentric, which recently found $11 million more in funding to advance it’s network as well as Italian mobile developer Buongiorno, who recently launched Peoplesound, which limits a user’s network to just 20 of their closest friends and family to share music, sports, movies and events.
The Paris company, founded in March 2010, received 300,000 euros (roughly $401,000 U.S.) in funding from French web entrepreneurs, Marc Simoncini, Xavier Niel and Jeremie Berrebi through their funds Jaina Capital and Kima Ventures.