Now that you are giving up on check-ins & sharing your location with your friends, a French startup is coming up with better technology and new use cases lớn make location cool again. Zenly has been quietly working on location for years, và teenagers are now getting addicted lớn this tiện ích. SoLoMo is bachồng.

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Zenly couldn’t be more straightforward. When you open the app, you see a giant bản đồ with your location and your friends’ location. You can tap on a friend’s picture & see exactly where they are. Or you can just aimlessly swipe through your friends and jump around the maps. This is Zenly’s core feature.

When I first heard about this pitch, I wasn’t convinced by the idea. What if you could tóm tắt your location with your close friends & family? This question doesn’t sound compelling at all. It sounds a lot like Apple’s Find My Friends, a bit lượt thích Foursquare, và it’s also very reminiscent of dozens of failed startups (R.I.P. Sam Altman’s Loopt, Gowalla, BrightKite, Highlight…).

And I’ve sầu also never been a tín đồ of constant location sharing. First, I care about my privacy. Second, background location apps kill my phone’s battery. Third, why would I even use something lượt thích this anyway?


But I gave it a serious shot and liked it a lot. Zenly is a well-designed, addictive tiện ích. I tend khổng lồ open it every now and then just because it’s so different from everything out there. This isn’t another messaging app. This isn’t a social network. This isn’t a utility. It’s something that sits between all of these areas. And I keep opening the ứng dụng.

And it starts with the location công nghệ. Zenly has a rock-solid, efficient yet accurate location algorithm. The app tries khổng lồ figure out the exact address of your friends. In my experience, with a few exceptions, Zenly has been accurate & displayed my friends’ home page addresses for example.

At the same time, Zenly doesn’t kill your battery. I’ve been opening the tiện ích regularly, & yet it wasn’t even in the trang nhất of biggest battery killers for the past 7 days — it has eaten up 3 percent of my battery.

Behind the scene, Zenly tries to lớn save sầu as much battery as possible. For instance, the tiện ích doesn’t traông xã your location when nobody toàn thân wants to see it. If a frikết thúc opens the tiện ích, then Zenly will request your location. But during most of the day, Zenly doesn’t bởi vì much.

And then, the tiện ích is full of little details that make it a polished experience. For instance, you can see the battery level of your friends. This could be useful if you’re wondering why someone isn’t answering your text messages, for instance.

If you want lớn nói qua your location with someone for just a few hours, you can send them a link so they can trachồng you on a bản đồ in their browser. This could be useful if your friends don’t have sầu Zenly or you’re just trying lớn meet up with someone who’s selling you a bike on Craigscác mục.

But location sharing isn’t for everyone. I’m already comfortable with it given that I’ve been checking in on Foursquare & then Swarm for years. But many of my friends are still reluctant. You can choose to only mô tả your current city with some of your friends. Or you can even temporarily hide your location for all of your friends or just some of them.

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But even with this kind of friction when it comes lớn privacy, Zenly has taken off for no apparent reason. The startup has been working on building a killer product before sharing it with the world. While the ứng dụng has been available in the App Store và Play Store for a year & four months, the startup has acted more or less like a stealth startup.

Yesterday, I went to the Zenly office & looked at the metrics dashboard. Zenly is about to lớn hit 1 million registered users. There are now around 340,000 monthly active users & around 80,000 daily active users. And these numbers are growing rapidly. Not bad for a startup that hasn’t focused on growth yet.

Who are these users? Teenagers. The app has been spreading around some high schools and middle schools lượt thích crazy. Some users add dozens of friends in just a few days. And they keep looking at what their friends have been doing, if they’re hanging out together, if there’s a các buổi party happening on Friday night. Maybe some of them have sầu a crush on another Zenly user, while others are just bored.

That’s why the company has recently raised an $11.2 million Series A round (€10 million) with Idinvest and Xavier Niel leading the round & other investors also participating, such as Kima Ventures, Solotháng Hykes, Tony Jamous, Damien Morin, Edward Bouygues, Maxime Prades, Olivier Thomas, Romain Cottard and Bastien Cadeac.

It’s clear now that Zenly has cracked the code of seamless location sharing giải pháp công nghệ. Now, there are two serious challenges ahead for the startup.

Like other social apps, Zenly needs to lớn become as sticky as possible for existing users. If you don’t open the phầm mềm every other day, you’re going lớn forget about it. The startup has a few ideas on this front. Second, Zenly needs lớn find a way lớn keep growing so that it becomes a must-have. Having three friends on Zenly is cool. But having twenty friends makes it much more interesting.

Now that Zenly has nailed down the core feature (location sharing), the startup can add social layers on top of it. Recently, the company added emojis, so you can ping your friends with symbols. For instance, I’ve sầu been sending emojis lớn say that I’m on my way or that I’m running late. I’ve sầu also used this feature to lớn ping long-distance friends and say hi. And, let’s be honest, I’ve sầu also used it as a joke to lớn spam my friends with emojis.

Now that Zenly has nailed down the core feature (location sharing), the startup can add social layers on top of it

More obvious, you can tap the meet button & start an itinerary in Maps, Citymapper or Uber. If your frikết thúc is not that far, you can use Zenly as a compass. It could be useful if you got lost at a music festival for example.

These are just some examples of social features that make sense when you combine them with a maps. Zenly doesn’t want to lớn become yet another messaging phầm mềm, or yet another feed-based social network ứng dụng.

But there’s a lot of value in knowing your friends’ locations. Compared lớn other consumer apps, users don’t need to be actively posting every day on the phầm mềm. Sharing your location is already interesting. And it could Zenly’s most interesting triông xã khổng lồ foster user growth.

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