While purposes like Google Maps and Yelp appear to offer an inexhaustible supply of details about native eating places, shops and different factors of curiosity, in addition they can come up quick — moments once you arrive someplace solely to find that the hours you had have been flawed, or the shop is closed for a vacation, or it’s simply shut down altogether.
The crew at StreetCred is making an attempt to construct a greater system for gathering and promoting that knowledge. And it’s raised $1 million in seed funding from Bowery Capital and Notation Capital.
CEO Randy Meech defined that if somebody wished to construct the following Uber or the following Pokémon GO, they’d want location knowledge to make it work. And whereas they may purchase that knowledge now, it’s “very difficult, very expensive.”
Plus, he sees room for heaps extra knowledge — whereas Foursquare has knowledge about 105 million factors of curiosity and Google has 100 million, Meech estimates that there are greater than 1 billion POIs the world over, a lot of them in growing nations the place the information is extra spotty.
So StreetCred is constructing a market the place customers needs to be rewarded for gathering this knowledge, whereas corporations ought to have the ability to purchase the information extra simply.
Meech has been engaged on mapping for years, serving because the CTO at MapQuest (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon/Oath) after which as CEO at Mapzen, an open-source mapping subsidiary of Samsung. That’s the place Meech met his StreetCred co-founder Diana Shkolnikov — he mentioned StreetCred was created partly in response to the frustration of shutting down Mapzen earlier this 12 months.
“If we can get this protocol and data economy right, it can’t be shut down,” Meech mentioned. That means leveraging blockchain expertise: “It’s a very natural way to open up and decentralize the data and also to build a payment mechanism around that.”
StreetCred is simply beginning to check the system out round New York City. The thought is that customers can obtain an app after which acquire location knowledge across the metropolis, incomes crypto tokens as they do. (They take photographs to validate their location, and the information can also be verified by different customers.) Then corporations that need to purchase the information can accomplish that by buying tokens.
Meech drew parallels to Foursquare, which began as a location-sharing app earlier than constructing a enterprise round its knowledge. StreetCred, then again, received’t have any social part — Meech mentioned the app will likely be “completely anonymous” and focus solely on the gathering of location knowledge.
The crew remains to be experimenting with the precise particulars of how contributions are incentivized and compensated, however Meech mentioned customers will likely be paid via an “anonymized wallet mechanism.” And whereas it’s necessary to ensure StreetCred’s tokens will be transformed into “fiat currency” (i.e. common cash), Meech mentioned this method also needs to imply customers are extra invested in StreetCred’s success: “We want to build an asset where the value of the currency is tied to the value of the data,” Meech emphasised.
“Our thesis is that if you make the data much more accessible, much cheaper to buy … you’re going to make things a lot easier and enable things that don’t exist today,” he mentioned.