Addy launched out of beta today to help people around the world find each other. Addy’s app lets you create and share custom links that show your physical location.
Cofounder and CEO Khaled Naim grew up in Dubai, where street address are not always useful.
“People generally describe a location as follows — ‘turn left after the Eppco gas station, opposite the Dubai Zoo. Then, after the third speed bump you’ll see a garbage can. Make a right before it, and you’ll see a white villa 200 meters down the road, with a green car parked outside, with license plate 40214,’” he said to VentureBeat. “It’s absurd. Street addresses haven’t evolved since their conception, over 500 years ago.”
Naim and cofounder David Vetrano said that traditional addresses were created as postal identifiers, but that Addy is creating digital identifiers. This approach standardizes addresses and makes them simpler to update. Users can also add in notes and easily enter that location on a digital map.
The app brings the idea of “dropping a pin” on a map to the next level. Sometimes navigation requires more information than a simple pin provides, and this issue is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where street addresses often don’t exist.
This is a major obstacle for e-commerce, transportation, food delivery companies, and others that require accurate locations to do business. Online ordering and delivery is growing fast around the world, particularly in Asia and Latin America, but the growth of these services is hampered by the logistical difficulties.
An action as seemingly simple as ordering a pizza online or hailing a cab through an app can become a challenge.
Addy’s goal is to integrate to businesses around the world to help them overcome these hurdles and let anyone with an Internet connection create their own address. Naim said there are multiple enterprise pilots in the works, and the company is focusing first on the greater Middle East region.
“You can think of our business model as ‘location as a service,’” Naim said. “We offer any company … high quality location data with accurate, comprehensive geospatial and location data via our API and web widgets. For example, given any point in the world, we can use our data and reverse geocode algorithm to determine relevant nearby landmarks [and] distances from them, and to provide a colloquial description of a location. We also have an embeddable map plugin that displays locations, and a widget that allows an end user to share their addy instead of their street address.”
The company emerged out of StartX, the entrepreneurial incubator associated with Stanford. Naim earned his MBA from Stanford, and Vetrano was enrolled in the masters of computer science program. The third cofounder, Mikel Carmenes Cavia, worked at IBM and SocialDeck, which was acquired by Google.
Addy has raised $300,000 from angels, including First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund.