June 17, 2013 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
The World’s Largest Location-as-a-Service Company, Locaid Helps Enterprises and Developers with the Most Robust, Privacy-Protected, Multi-Source Location Platform Available, Reducing Fraud, Increasing Productivity, Driving Revenue and Saving Lives
Locaid is the world's
largest Location-as-a-Service (LaaS) company. Locaid runs “location in the
cloud” with the most robust, privacy-protected, multi-source location
platform available. Locaid can determine the physical location of your
customers, employees or assets, anywhere, instantly. With a footprint that
extends to over 4.7 billion connected devices across the globe, including
network mobile location on 415 million mobile devices, Locaid helps
enterprises and developers be hyper-local, reduce fraud, increase
productivity gain consumer insight, comply with regulations, drive revenue
and save lives. Locaid is the largest and preferred location gateway for the
major carriers in the Americas, including AT&T, Bell, Boost Mobile, Cricket,
Rogers, Sprint, TELUS, T-Mobile, Verizon and others. The world’s biggest
brands, agencies, financial institutions, software companies, enterprise
infrastructure providers, mobile app developers and M2M platforms get
location from Locaid.
Rip is also a best-selling author. His thrillers have been published by Random House and Forge. In his spare time Rip fronts a rock band in San Francisco and curates the world’s largest collection of map postcards.
conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June
CEOCFO: Mr. Gerber, would you explain the vision when you first started at Locaid, and where are you today?
Mr. Gerber: My vision for Locaid was to create the world’s largest location company, and to provide location data to any application or any company that needed it. That vision remains true today. We are the world’s largest location-as-a-service or LaaS, as it is called in our industry, with some of the largest brands and most innovative developers getting mobile location from us.
CEOCFO: What does Locaid know about getting location that perhaps others do not?
Mr. Gerber: We started out building apps. And as an app developer, we found it was difficult to work with wireless carriers to get location data. We determined that if it was that hard for us to do it, it must be hard for others as well. That meant there was an opportunity problem in our industry. We spent a lot of time and energy working with our carrier friends on how to best access location data from their networks. Along the way, we were able to apply knowledge from one supplier and apply to the next supplier, and so on. We aggregated that knowledge to benefit all of our partners. Since launching the platform, we have added more third party suppliers of location information. The platform keeps growing, like the Borg from Star Trek, but in a beneficial way! All that learning, and our complete focus on location, has helped make Locaid the smartest as well as the biggest location platform in the world.
CEOCFO: Without being too technical, what is the problem that you face with the mobile carriers, and how do you overcome that?
Mr. Gerber: The carriers that we work with such as AT&T and Verizon are massive networks, processing millions of bytes per second for millions of customers every day, a five-nines performance. These large and important networks are considered national infrastructure. So it is very difficult to navigate inside of these organizations; but not for Locaid. We know the right people in the carriers, we know how the networks all work and operate, and we know location. So we wired together, with our proprietary code and our location API, an elegant, user-friendly interface that leaves all of the complication and complexity to us. Our customers will get the benefit of a simple, easy-to-use and access location source, so that they can focus on their core business and operations. We are the Amazon of location: we go to many different sources and gather the goods, but the customer only needs to go to one website to get what he or she needs
CEOCFO: Are companies purchasing service directly from you? What is the revenue plan or model?
Mr. Gerber: The business model is subscription–based. That means you only pay for what you need. And the more you purchase, the better your rate, because we are a cloud-computing platform, customers purchase Locaid as “SaaS,” or Software-as-a-Service. Whatever location data you require, from the carriers, off the device, from third-party sources, you simply pay a monthly fee for a fixed number of locations, based on how much you are willing to spend.
CEOCFO: You clearly have well-known names as customers, but in the business world in general, does everyone realize they should be using Locaid?
Mr. Gerber: The mobile industry is evolving rapidly, and the number of consumers that are carrying location-enabled devices is increasing rapidly. The impact of today’s mobile society on enterprise operations is astounding. Location now helps retailers run proximity marketing and localized coupons, location enables fraud reduction in banks, location helps corporations track their assets anywhere in the world. Many companies are just learning what they can do with the power of location. Imagine if you knew where everyone one of your customers, employees, trucks, and assets were on the planet at any point in time. Well, you can, with Locaid. Not everyone realizes the possibilities of the mobile generation and the “Internet of Things.” Ten years ago, when location based services were first made available, the technology was intriguing but companies could not justify the ROI. That has changed today, in part by how easy Locaid has made it for these companies to access location.
CEOCFO: Would you explain to me how banks use location in terms of fraud?
Mr. Gerber: Banks use our location in a number of different ways: to battle fraud, to engage customers, and to perform analytics. One common bank use of location is reducing the number of false positives. A false positive is when a customer is using a card, say at a hotel, and the bank stops the transaction because they believe the card swipe is fraudulent. Typically the card holder is asked a few challenge questions, such as social security number. In the banking industry, that exception processing costs the bank approximately $19. In the US, every year there is over $400 million dollars of costs associated with stopping legitimate transactions from going through. Our technology allow the bank to get a location fixed on that card holder’s mobile phone at the time of the transaction, so rather than spending $19 to ascertain that the cardholder is at the same hotel where your card swipe occurs, for a nickel that bank can use our location and determine a cardholder’s physical location. No more costly phone calls. And that is just one example in the financial services industry. There are many more.
CEOCFO: What may be some of the other uses that people like me might not normally think of. What is an example of something people do not realize would be a benefit of your service or a way your service could be used in a different way?
Mr. Gerber: The global corporation has many assets, and these assets are moving around. Coca-Cola spends significant resources tracking their own vending machines. Now that they are connected to the network, we can help Coca-Cola ascertain the location of their vending machines around the globe for inventory management purposes. Another is the tracking of packages for companies like FedEx, where we can provide alternative location data in addition to what FedEx uses. Locaid can pinpoint the exact location of a package in between shipping centers, even inside the hull of an airplane. We also provide location to companies that provide family safety services, we help locate and track down lost and stolen cars for automotive and insurance companies, and we provide to job alerts that are location based for companies. Every week a new use case for location comes to us that we never thought of before. This is a fascinating business.
CEOCFO: Did you realize when you started that there would be such opportunity or did it the vision grow as the mobile industry grew?
Mr. Gerber: Whenever you see a new market, and you consider addressing it in a horizontal fashion versus a vertical solution fashion, you are building a platform, not just a product. So you anticipate that you are going to have uses of your technology that you never dreamed of. And that is the creative joy I get out of Locaid. We are enabling technology, not bound by a vertical focus or a narrow roadmap. Take the lottery industry. I had no idea starting out that we would all be using smartphones and iPads to purchase lottery tickets. But you need non-spoofable location to do that, the state regulators demand it. Soon, you will be able to buy lottery tickets on your smart phone, and the only reason you will be able to do that is because our location technology determines that your smartphone is within a state boundary. Without location technology, we could not place wagers on smart phones or buy lottery tickets on iPads. I had no idea that use for this starting the company, and it is now a very important to these industries, and a terrific new use case for Locaid.
CEOCFO: With that example, did a lottery commission of one state come to and ask you to do it, or did you see an opportunity and approach them? How did you become involved with some of the newer and expanded services and needs that you are filling?
Mr. Gerber: The mobile computing era that we are in is the largest technology transformation we have seen in our generation. As a result, everyone is moving very fast. And in many industries, like lottery or banking, there is an entrenched ecosystem of providers that deliver value all the way “up a solution stack.” For example, in the gaming industry, the state commissions set the requirements, but there are operators that provide machines and technologies to those states. Working for those operators, there are thousands of software and solution providers that provide services in the gaming industry, from ticket distribution, payments, device authentication, and in our case, location. As it is in gaming, banking and transportation, we work with anyone in that stack who might want our location services. Locaid is the Switzerland of mobile: we will provide location to anyone in the value chain, and that value chain is some of these emerging industries such as mobile wagering is quite complex. There is not one path for us to market, on the contrary, there are multiple ways by which a company or consumer may eventually access our services.
CEOCFO: Locaid is the world’s largest in your industry, but is there much competition? Could you explain how the industry is in general?
Mr. Gerber: There used to be more competition for the location services that we provide. When we launched this platform three years ago, there were six players in the space trying to be the uber-location partner to the enterprise. Now there is only Locaid. What happened? First, we decided to “go big or go home.” My team believed we could build the best and biggest location in the world, and we did. That success creates a gravitational pull: customers want to access more devices, not fewer. So mobile developers, very bright people, decided they wanted the best, too. Second, we focused. Some of our former competitors did too many things. We are location; period. Our smart customers wanted a partner smarter than them in location. Third, we have a passion for location here at Locaid. When you are doing something you love, success comes naturally. Our competitors were more about job security or squeezing a dollar out of their customers. So those customers switched over to Locaid. We also work really hard. As a result, those factors, along with my incredible team that performs very well in the field and builds terrific technology, have made Locaid a great company.
CEOCFO: You have been involved in a number of very successful ventures. What have you learned along the way that has been most successful at Locaid?
Mr. Gerber: First, you are always learning. Whether you are in a large or small company, public or private, every day is a learning opportunity, and if you embrace opportunities and challenges with that kind of education mindset, you will always be successful. Second, anticipate and embrace failure. If you do not fail, at least occasionally, you are not pushing hard enough. Some of the most important lessons I have learned is when products and opportunities do not work and I do not succeed. Third, success is all about people. The technology will evolve and opportunities will come and go, but success and failure can be driven entirely by the kind of people that you work with, surround yourself with, and the kind of person you are.
CEOCO: How do you keep up with all of the newest technologies? How do you know what is worthy of your attention?
Mr. Gerber: The best way to keep on top of this industry, particularly in mobile, is to read a lot and to play around a lot with gadgets. People that are in the technology field tend to be gadget geeks and like to ticker around. I have a room in my house that looks like Doc Brown’s garage in “Back to the Future.” Tinkers in tech get the newest iPhone or are the first to try on Google glasses. If you have that kind of curiosity and you like to tinker and be the first to try to break something or learn how something works, that really is the best way to keep up on what is happening from a technological stand point. The other way? Be a bit of an extrovert. You have to talk to many people about things that may not be directly related to your industry or your company, but learn from those conversations. Be interested. There are so many very smart people in my industry. Just plug in to and listen to the world out there, on the bus, from a TED Talk, from your neighbor. We live in a fascinating time.
CEOCFO: Would you tell me about your rock band?
Mr. Gerber: I started out as a concert pianist when I was about five years old. That brief flash of talent has degenerated into fronting rock and roll bands for charity. My current project covers Bruce Springstein, Tom Petty, and the Rolling Stones. I sing like those old guys. I also play keyboards, more like Billy Joel than Elton John. I have performed at the Ferry Building and on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. I once opened for Tom Petty at a private event in Mexico. That was wild. Location matters!
CEOCFO: Where do you see growth coming from, and is there a strategy or focus going forward?
Mr. Gerber: Growth for Locaid will come in a number of directions. One is the rise of usage in the mobile economy as more and more people utilize mobile devices and as the “Internet of Things” takes off. Soon everything from your car to your laptop and toaster will be connected and locatable on the network. To riff on the Terminator: “The network will become location aware.” Locaid will also experience growth as more industries adopt a mobile strategy: we see that this year in gaming and lottery, hospitals, health care, even the government. Locaid will continue to expand our platform from North America to Asia, Latin America and Europe. And finally, the most exciting growth area is the innovation that my incredible technical team is building: new products and solutions to serve our customers.
CEOCFO: Why should investors and people in the business community pay attention to Locaid?
Gerber: Two words:
Location Matters™. I
trademarked that tagline, because I believe in it. Location is a new
technology, but it is also a new way of life. Location is going to have a
large impact on business, and if you do not pay attention to location, your
competitors will. They will be serving their customers better because they
will know where they physically are on the planet. Your competitors will be
able to operate more efficiently because they will know where their workers
and their assets are at any point in time. If they are working with us, your
competitors will be running their operations much more efficiently, which is
why location matters.
“My current project covers Bruce Springstein, Tom Petty, and the Rolling Stones. I sing like those old guys. I also play keyboards, more like Billy Joel than Elton John. I have performed at the Ferry Building and on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. I once opened for Tom Petty at a private event in Mexico. That was wild. Location matters!”- Rip Gerber
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