A new location-based iPhone application has just gone live in the App Store, and it hopes to tackle some of the problems similar location services have run into so far. Moximity is based in Austin, Tex., and prior to tonight was in stealth mode.
You’ll find some screenshots of the app below. In a nutshell, Moximity overlays your social network and the status and location of friends atop information about the bars, restaurants, concert halls and other venues near you. In that broad view, it’s pretty similar to other applications that have recently launched, like Loopt and Whrrl.
However, Moximity differs on a few key points. The big one is that it is launching in a single city — Austin — and plans to roll out its service slowly to other cities, focusing on some markets that the other apps have ignored (read: it won’t be in the Bay Area anytime soon). Moximity also hopes to tap closely into brands, events and retail, giving advertisers a channel to reach users.
Moximity currently combines Twitter-like status updates with a strong networking component, which helps to explain why it’s focusing on a single city. It’s the company’s own way of meeting the problem that VentureBeat’s MG Siegler just pointed out in an article about Loopt, which is that the curse of location-based networks is that it’s still difficult to find anyone who’s using them — there just aren’t enough users yet. While Loopt is making it easier for users who don’t know each other to meet, Moximity hopes to tap into tightly-knit social groups.
Founder Brian Jones got started on those groups by testing the company out with college fraternities in Austin. Frat boys out on the town generally want to gather in certain bars, and the company saw a strong interest and response from college kids in general. By focusing on college towns, Jones hopes that his company will see a Facebook-like adoption (Moximity, by the way, does tie into Facebook).
Meanwhile, they’ll be working to hook into the local markets. A store, for example, could advertise a special to interested users, or a bar with a band playing that night could send the lineup to a passerby. Matching those messages with people who want to hear them is the sweet spot for this company.
Because Moximity is confined to its home city (for the moment), it’s likely that this application’s big chance to get the kind of attention Loopt has received will come during next year’s SXSWi festival, when geeks from all over converge on Austin. In the meantime, you can try it out anywhere, but without the full listings users in Austin will get.