CultureMap is launching a new mobile application, which will leverage data provided by one of the largest deployments of iBeacons in the nation to tell users what’s trending in their cities.
“The people who read CultureMap are interested in where to shop, where to eat and what to do,” ViewMarket co-founder Alexander Muse said. “That was the impetus behind this.”
The company, which recently was acquired by Dallas-based ViewMarket in a deal worth $15 million, plans to deploy 200,000 iBeacons at trendy and unique restaurants and retailers across the U.S. The beacons automatically will track CultureMap app users and transmit the data back to the app and CultureMap’s airport concierge shops, telling people what’s currently trending and the most popular spots in the last 30 days. The company is starting the process by rolling out 9,000 iBeacons across Dallas, Houston and Austin, collectively.
When 3,000 iBeacons are installed later this month, the app will become available to users in the Texas markets. The company plans to launch in the top 20 markets across the nation by early 2016.
The app is being funded by CultureMap’s latest round of funding, a $1.5 million investment led by 500 Startups’ Dave McClure.
Denver, Colorado-based Roximity will provide the iBeacons, and Dallas startup Asset Panda will provide the tracking software to make this possible. The company has an integrated asset management system that combines the use of apps, the cloud and barcode scanning.
“The prospect of deploying 200,000 iBeacons nationally without Asset Panda would be unthinkable,” Muse said.
CultureMap is installing the first 1,000 iBeacons in each of the three Texas cities at no cost to the retailers and restaurants. CultureMap is picking the locations strategically but also is welcoming retailers that would like to participate.
To get users on board, CultureMap is offering discounts and special access to its events for people who download the application. It expects to get a sample size of 1,000 users per market, which will then allow the app to provide data on what’s trending.
After the first phase is successfully rolled out, CultureMap expects to launch more interactive events and projects through the app. For example, users might be able to participate in bar crawls for CultureMap prizes or push offers to users who like specific locales.
Muse said he’s using the experience he gained from ShopSavvy, his former company that allows shoppers to scan product barcodes to find the best deals, to build the CultureMap app.
“All of the lessons we learned and the mistakes we made are being put into this app,” he said. “It will succeed at some level because of our experiences.”