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Loopt, a mobile location services pioneer, has been snapped up by an unlikely suitor. Green Dot, a company that specializes in prepaid debit cards, announced today that it has acquired the company for $43.4 million.
Loopt started out as a way to easily locate all of your friends, but the company has since added features like Loopt Qs, an easy way to share your opinion about specific places, and local deals. The acquisition is the end of a long journey for Loopt, which was founded in early 2005, long before check-in services like Foursquare hit the scene.
Despite being one of the first mobile services to focus on location, Loopt never saw the widespread adoption of its younger competitors. Now, though, it may be able to use its experience in the mobile location field to help improve Green Dot’s business.
“We believe that mobile phones have the potential to change the way people interact with their bank, control their money and pay for goods and services,” Green Dot CEO Steve Streit said in a statement today. “Loopt has innovative mobile technology, market leading mobile programming capabilities and compelling intellectual property. Meanwhile, Green Dot has a large customer base, a robust enterprise-level financial services infrastructure and retail point-of-sale financial transaction capabilities deployed at major retailers nationwide.”
Green Dot says that acquiring Loopt will help it to increase customer acquisition of its debit cards, create new payments and banking services, and help it to power a future mobile wallet. The company also notes that Loopt “holds several patents that are applicable to mobile marketing in the context of location-based messaging delivered real-time to a mobile handset.”
Loopt is based in Mountain View, California, and raised a total of $17 million in funding. The company’s headquarters will now become Green Dot’s hub in the Valley for mobile products.
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