San Diego is home to an array of technologically innovative, young, and promising startups. When Mayor Bob Filner spoke at a mayoral debate at Co-Merge back on October 16, he promised to create a business environment favorable to the promotion of startup businesses. Filner has been sworn in for less than a week now, but it seems as if the future will be promising for these unique businesses. One business in particular, Locbit, which is a San Diego-based technologically advanced advertising and information company, stood out at the December 6 StartUp Circle. Locbit is making giant strides in advertisement placing, utilizing a complex predictive algorithm to reach target audiences.
Scenario: One is at a gas station at 10pm, and is most likely hungry. In looking around the service station, they notice an advertisement on a TV screen. The advertisement is for a restaurant that is less than a few blocks away, and has a QR code located at some crucial point on the ad. The person goes up to the screen, whips out their smartphone, and scans the code. Instantly, they receive information on the restaurant’s location, deals, hours of operation, and basically anything they needed to know about said restaurant.
Simplified to some degree, this is what Locbit is currently doing. They have programmed a system with nearly 2 million advertisements promoting various types of businesses, restaurants, nightlife locations, and loads of hyper-local information. Their website promotes the use of “mobile phones as a remote control,” in which ultimately the consumer decides what information is relevant to them. This enables businesses to reach an audience that is already interested in their specified area of operation.
“This ultimately improves the way people receive and interact with local information,” said Locbit founder and CEO Boian Spassov. “We started this company because we saw deficiencies in advertising – predominantly the ability of small businesses to reach their audiences at a decent price.”
The advertisement seen on a television screen is typically less than a Tweet, about 100 character long or so. This being said, the real innovation comes into play after the QR code is scanned, of which the algorithm determines what information is best suited for the consumer. In partnering with companies like Groupon and Yelp, Locbit has been able to acquire this local information while plugging it in as necessary, which is predominantly location-based.
Spassov says that people constantly ask him why he doesn’t operate in Silicon Valley. His typical response is that San Diego, in being located near Los Angeles, allows them to operate between two large, urban markets. These large urban markets typically have the technology necessary for his company to remain successful The fact that Qualcomm, one of the largest communications corporations in the country, is such a staple of the city, is of no hinderance either.
“San Diego is seeing this trend of companies being started by CEOs typically under the age of thirty,” says Spassov. “We’re experiencing a shift from the corporate boardrooms into the younger, technology-driven generation. In looking at the market, we saw that there was no real way to deliver local information to consumers. Where we’re at now, we see that the future of information in real time needs to be smarter.”
The young CEO also cites the Ansir Innovation Center (AIC), who has invested in the company, and StartUp Circle for their involvement – which has aided in his company’s success.
It is fitting that Spassov brings up the idea of this “changing of the guard.” At a prior StartUp Circle conference at Mintz Levin, much emphasis was placed on the idea of college graduates and young entrepreneurs creating startups. Though StartUp Circle had set a minimum number of students as a benchmark, surely that number will grow exponentially at the rate technology is progressing.