Echoecho, a mobile application to help you find your friends, announced a $750,000 seed round from Google Ventures and UK-based venture capital firm PROfounders today.
Have you ever been in an airport looking for a friend or get lost at a concern? Echoecho let’s you ping the person whose location you want and see where they are on a map. If they don’t have the free app, they will be prompted to download it, but can also access your location from a browser at home.
“We invest mainly based on how interesting the teams are,” Wesley Chan, partner at Google Ventures told VentureBeat in an interview.
According to Chan, Echoecho founder Nick Bicanic thinks differently than most mobile startups do. “He looks at something and says, ‘How can we take away features instead of add them?’”
Bicanic is particularly concerned with the user experience and whether a feature will actually have a use in the real world. “Product development is driven by the users’ need first,” he explained to us.
Echoecho simplifies the location app down to what you really want to do: find someone. You don’t broadcast your location to everyone, only to the one person that you would like to contact. But this isn’t unique. In fact, its own investor Google, allows people to share their location over SMS directly from Google maps. Echoecho has a road map for its app, however, and then funding will help it get there.
First, the company plans to integrate group location sharing in case you’re meeting more than just one person for dinner. Second, Echoecho will carefully unveil a real-time tracking feature.
The company is developing the real-time tracking with sensitivity because of privacy concerns. Real-time tracking introduces the ability to follow a person’s moves wherever they go. There’s a potential creep factor, but Echoecho wants to give the power to their users. Echoecho will allow people to limit the amount of time a person may follow your tracks. For instance, if you are looking for a friend’s office, but don’t know the area, they can watch whether they’re headed in the wrong direction.
In addition to these new products, the company will also be making hires, as many startups do. Echoecho is located in Los Angeles, the UK and Croatia, Bicanic’s birthplace. Echoecho was unveiled at the Launch conference in February 2011.