Did you hear about the burglary down the block? Are you coming to the yard sale next Saturday? Did you see the new SUV in the driveway next door? A new location-based-slash-social-networking app named DeHood is coming to town, which is aimed at hyper-local communities: Neighborhoods. DeHood is a way to make the neighborhood a friendlier place, or perhaps just an easier way to keep up with the Joneses, depending on how you look at it.
DeHood, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, is launching the free app today on the iPhone. Users will be able to see the buzz about what’s going on around their location, use check-in features, report deals they see in stores to other users by taking a picture of the deal and sharing it, and so on. The product sounds like a bit of Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Flickr all rolled into one, and according to the founder and CEO Babak Hedayati, the company wanted to come out with all guns blazing.
“Our team [seven full-time employees] has a strong background in social networking, gaming and software development and when we started the company last December, people were able to bring in technology they had already been developing for a couple of years,” Hedayati says. Hedayati himself was the CEO of Vyoom, which aggregates all the social networks, provides communications tools and has a crafty reward plan, where active networks of users will be rewarded with Vyoom stock if and when the company goes public.
There are other products that are used for building on-the-spot, small social networks that combine aspects of different location-based services, like Zerista, which we recently covered. As the location space is teeming with players right now, any newcomers will have a hard time differentiating from the noise. The DeHood product has a fun feature called Scratchie, which is similar to lottery tickets. “Scratching” the scratchie, or rubbing a finger across the iPhone’s screen reveals a reward, such as a title the user can achieve or maybe a special offer on a product (see video below). Details like these can make for great word of mouth for a product. At the same time, Hedayati thinks the way to make it is to have the app take off in a few neighborhoods—Palo Alto being the first city DeHood is focusing on.
“We have tested our product prior to launch hyper-locally with approximately 30 people and their families and are happy that some of the features have been pretty addictive”, Hedayati claims.
DeHood has gotten seed funding from angel investors, and Hedayati has also put in a considerable amount himself. The company is actively looking to bring in more capital as it launches the product. As far as monetizing the free iPhone app, DeHood has built the platform and will offer an application programming interface or API for developers and is betting on selling “control panel tools” such as statistics and analytics tools for businesses to see who is visiting their stores.
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