WaveMarket relaunches as Location Labs, considers an IPO

Goodbye WaveMarket, hello Location Labs! WaveMarket, a company that has built a platform for location-based services, is changing its name today to Location Labs and releasing new features for developers, even as its existing business is propelling revenues to heights where an initial public offering is plausible, according to the startup’s CEO, Tasso Roumeliotis.

Roumeliotis told VentureBeat that as Location Labs, his company is rolling out a service for locating mobile devices and a geofencing service. Geofencing is the practice of ringing a physical location with virtual fences and targeting the users of mobile devices within those boundaries. According to Roumeliotis (pictured), the company wanted to tackle two aspects of location-based services which are hard and time-consuming to do.

Location Labs’ “Universal Location Service” (called the “Veriplace platform” in WaveMarket days) reaches 180 million devices through partnerships with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, which required getting access to the carriers’ networks and customizing the software. That service is used to locate smartphones and cell phones across different carriers’ networks. For instance, if an employer wants to locate all their employees’ iPhones, it can do so using Location Labs’ service.

Location Labs logoRoumeliotis says that Location Labs is not dropping any of the old WaveMarket products, including its apps, the most famous of which is Family Finder, an application parents can use to keep track of their children by using their personal computers and GPS-enabled mobile devices. The relaunch is about consolidating all the WaveMarket products into a bigger release, and renaming the company was something that has been talked about internally for a long while.

Roumeliotis says the company has always been about location, and when he founded WaveMarket in 2000, he wanted to have the word “location” in the name, but the idea was laughed at then. Now, it’s a new day and location-based services are drawing hot interest from investors.

WaveMarket raised $26 million from venture capitalists including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, BlueRun Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Intel Capital. The company is profitable, boasts annual revenues of more than $10 million, and is growing at a fast rate, according to Roumeliotis. Location Labs’ platform is in a private, invitation-only beta and is expected to be publicly available in the fall. In addition, Location Labs plans two other major releases this year which have to do with boosting developers’ ability to make money off of their apps.

And even further down the road, Location Labs could envision going public, something that Roumeliotis says will be relevant in 18 months or so. Time to geofence Wall Street? Roumeliotis thinks so.

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