Today, Chicago-based Evzdrop announced the launch of its iPhone app, which lets businesses and individuals ‘listen to places through people.’ The app lets people or businesses post ‘drops,’ or information about places, which other app users can find in real-time. The company also announced that it has raised $500,000 in funding from several angel investors, and co-founder David Rush said they plan to use the funding to invest in their team, in addition to bolstering their product development and marketing efforts.
“The inspiration was to use ‘place’ on our interest graph to create a new kind of information network between people. By using location-based technology to verify where someone is at a given moment in time, we can bring more credibility to their opinions, insights, and observations from a place in real-time,” Rush said in an interview.
Evzdrop lets users discover the place they’re in and create a drop that can either be text-only, or can include a photo with the ability to add their sentiment about the place, including giving it a thumbs up or down. Sharing options include notifying Facebook friends and Twitter followers or going ’stealth’ which lets users be heard, but not discovered. Users can also keep tabs on surrounding drops through the radar feature, which highlights drops made in the last 24 hours, or follow places to get updated with push notifications about what’s happening in those places of interests.
For business owners, Evzdrop gives them access to a dashboard where they can analyze drops posted at their location by sentiment, demographic, and location. Businesses can also connect with users who are close by through real-time campaigns that let them push coupons and rewards to anyone who posted a drop nearby, the goal being that merchants can connect directly with customers to drive in-store traffic and build customer relationships with those identified as brand advocates.
“Businesses can access data and analytics about their location at no charge when they ‘unlock their analytics’ at our website. We can also run custom campaigns for them to send real-time notifications to people who are in their store or nearby to drive in-store traffic,” Rush added. “We can help direct people to conduct transactions when the emotions are strongest when they ‘listen’ to places and learn about a sale, are captivated by the feedback at a concert or game, or hear about drink specials at a bar.”
Although, Evzdrop provides the analytics dashboard for free, it charges businesses to run campaigns and send push notifications. Despite having a monetization strategy in place at launch, it will have to show both users and business owners how it sets itself apart from existing discovery apps and check-in services, not to mention review and micro-blogging platforms. Foursquare has a registered user base of 25 million people and one million businesses on board, and those users can already leave notes at locations and get deals from those merchants. Another upcoming service is Findery (formerly Pinwheel), which is currently in private beta. Founded by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, it allows users to leave public or private notes which act as push notifications for other users of the app, and though it’s focused on consumers, it’s conceivable that they could open it up to business owners as well.
Evzdrop plans to launch an Android app in the next few months, and is currently developing additional real-time features for their existing platform to grow their user base. Evzdrop is hoping to replace having to access multiple apps like Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare when at a location, so instead users can create a drop instead of a Tweet, read other people’s drops over the past 24 hours instead of looking up reviews on Yelp, and only access drops of people in close proximity rather than checking friends’ tips in foursquare. While location-based marketing and offers will be key for merchants, apps like Evzdrop will only be a useful tool if they can hit a critical mass of businesses and users, a difficult task in a crowded local marketing space.