Clingle is a new location-based social network that wants to enhance conversations as you check in to places throughout the day.
The service, which officially launched across the U.S. yesterday with a new iPhone app, allows people to leave multimedia messages (text, video or audio) for a specific user or group of users when they check in to a certain location. Those messages can grow into full-length conversations. Users can also leave messages for others to discover, regardless of their location — sort of like Foursquare’s Tips feature.
But unlike Foursquare, Clingle isn’t focused on a public stream of activity. Instead, its more like Google+’s Huddle feature. Clingle co-founder Puneet Mehta told VentureBeat that the service is best compared with the experience of text messaging that’s been enhanced with GPS and the ability to send video and audio messages.
Mehta said Clingle has plans to partner with retail and restaurant chains to allow users to purchase items for friends so that those items are waiting for the friend when they check in at the location. And rather than dealing with point-of-sale integration with thousands of merchants, he said a solution can be as simple as providing a proof of receipt. For instance, if I wanted to buy a cup of coffee for a friend who will be at the cafe down the street hours from now (when I’m not around), I could take a picture of my receipt and send it to him. My friend would show the picture to the merchant to receive the pre-purchased cup.
Clingle’s revenue model is based on commission fees and advertising from its merchant partners. However, the company’s main focus for the time being is providing a good experience for its users, Mehta said.
While the service does have potential, it’s going to have plenty of competition from both Twitter and Foursquare, which are adding new features that give its users a more well-rounded experience.
Clingle was developed by MyCityWay, a New York-based startup co-founded by Mehta, Archana Patchirajan and Sonpreet Bhatia. Founded in 2009, MyCityWay has received $6 million total funding to date from BMW iVentures, FirstMark Capital, EDC and IA Ventures.