ULocate, a Framington, Mass. start-up focused on giving you mobile information based on your location, has raised $11 million more in a second round of financing.
ULocate offers more than a dozen widgets that you can drag and drop onto your mobile phone — giving you things such as directions, ski reports, brewery finders, and even neighboring Twitter posts — and joins a host of competitors racing to give you similar services.
Ask yesteday unveiled something very similar yesterday, with its Ask Mobile GPS. Ask’s advantage is that easily integrate its mobile services with the host of properties owned by its parent, IAC. After a free trial period, Ask’s service will be offered at $9.99 per month. A stripped-down version — GPS services but no navigation — will cost $2.99 per month. IAC plans to integrate more services into Ask Mobile, including as Ticketmaster and Match. See images at far bottom illustrating the Ask offering.
Ulocate offers its services for a $3/month subscription.
These services both rely on Sprint, which is one of the first carriers to offer GPS services, and only for certain phones. For many of us, therefore, this will be unhelpful. In Silicon Valley, Sprint is notoriously weak. Here’s a list of phones ULocate supports (top of FAQ). GPS technology detects your location so that you get information about you area, but so far has gained more traction among Asian carriers.
A host of other companies offer location-capable applications, though most of them ask you to input your location manually. There are Google’s applications, Mobio’s, and others that offer location applications within a broader palette of offerings, such as Zenzui, Plusmo and Widsets.
More info about the ULocate Where widgets is here.
Venrock led the round of funding, with additional participation from returning investors GrandBanks Capital and Kodiak Venture Partners. In 2004, the company raised $4.5 million, and in 2003 a seed round of $600,000.
The company says U.S. mobile users will spend $13 billion on mobile data services this year, and that U.S. consumer spending on location-based services will grow 160 percent this year, citing Phil Taylor, director of Wireless Media Strategies Service for Strategy Analytics.