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Company: Loopt
Location: Mountain View, Calif.
Founded: 2006
Founder: Sam Altman
Funding: $17 million
Employees: 40

Sam Altman, LooptOne of the first location-based services, Loopt has been quietly leading the charge since 2006 under chief executive and founder Sam Altman. Altman may well have coined the term “check-in” for the ability to find friends and activities in a specific area. With four different location-based applications running on more than 100 million devices — everything from BlackBerrys, Android smartphones, iPhones, and iPads. Loopt is currently one of the most popular services with more than 4 million users. We caught up with Altman to talk more about his growing suite of location-based apps and how he plans to continue to be an innovator in the space.

Why did you start the company?
Because I think location is the future of technology, and because I wanted Loopt for my friends and me to use.

What’s the coolest place you checked into recently?
Twice in the last two weeks I’ve checked in on the side of the highway while getting pulled over for speeding.

When did you realize it was working?
The first time I used Loopt to randomly meet up with a friend for lunch.

What’s next for the location-based industry and services?
I see the future broken up into three major themes.

First, what I call X-ray vision. Our phones are going to help us see everything going on in the world around us. We’ll have overlays with all of the information we care about.

Second, the ability to have real-world connections. One of the coolest things about location-based services is that unlike most technology which isolates us from each other, location-based services make us get out and do stuff and meet up with people face to face.

Third, it’s moving from early adopters to very mainstream. I’m not sure how this will change services like ours, but I expect that it will.

Where are you checking in next?
I’m off to a friends surprise birthday party. I’ll try to remember NOT to check in, because I’ve ruined a surprise party like that once before.

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