Location-sharing app for sporting events raises $1.5 million
A real-time location sharing navigation app called MeetBall, which is based out of Doylestown, Pa., just finished raising $1.5 million in its pre-Series A round. Philadelphia-based Ben Franklin Technology Partners led the round.
MeetBall plans to direct the capital to its tech team and toward MeetBall’s launch in the fall, during the heat of NASCAR and college football seasons, said company founder and CEO Ryan Owen.
“We help people not only coordinate among their group of tailgate buddies, but also if they want to know where [to find] the nearest restrooms, merchandise tents or concession stands,” said Owen. “The goal is to save time.”
He said MeetBall sees friends as they converge on a spot, so when users opt in they can more easily navigate to the group’s location. “They can engage as a group rather than a one-to-one capability,” he said.
Owen came up with the idea three years ago and then partnered with his brother Matt, who had software development experience at Notre Dame.
MeetBall is negotiating with prospective clients, and has run beta testing at the Iowa Speedway, Penn State and Notre Dame.
PSU has expressed interest in using the app to broadcast the precise arrival of the team buses to the stadium gate, Owen said.
The app leverages GPS technology for outdoor events and beacon technology for indoor events, where cellular service may be limited or nonexistent. The beacon technology allows the event host to establish points inside a venue, which if passed, can push a marketing notification to the app-user’s phone.
The company splits 12 employees between Chicago and Doylestown, but plans to grow in the Bucks County suburb. It expects to drive revenue by funneling mobile advertisers through event hosts and by charging its clients a fee.
“We’ve been building both a mobile iOS and Android solution for the fan, and a desktop version for the event host,” Owen added.
Owen said his “B2B2C” company has differentiated the app from simple texting and the iPhone’s location sharing because it’s community driven.
The app will be free for consumers, but MeetBall will primarily target event hosts to capture users downstream.