Location, location, location doesn’t just apply to real estate. In the Age of Mobile, it applies to information, too. Acorn is an app that lets your leave reminders where and when you need them. Users send messages tethered to specific geographic locations – to themselves, to others and to the public so that your message is available exactly where and when someone – or you – need that information that you’re sending along. And when they leave the location, so does the message.
In other words, you never have to forget to pick up the milk on your way home again. CEO and Co-Founder Gabriel Otte fills us in on the details.
Tell us about the decision to apply to DreamIt Accelerator.
I initially built the first version of Acorn to send my girlfriend on a digital scavenger hunt that would culminate in my proposal to her. As I built it, a professor at Wharton told me that this would be a useful reminders and messaging platform that notified users of location-aware, contextual information. He suggested that we apply to DreamIt to accelerate our business.
Tell us about your product or service.
Acorn allows users to send location-aware reminders and messages (or acorns). Have you ever forgotten to pick up groceries on your way home from work that your partner asked for? How about letting your friends know about the must-have Mahi-Mahi at a restaurant nearby? Just simply drop yourself or others an acorn and they will be notified with your note exactly when they need it.
How is it different?
Other companies have tried to do similar things, but they have all been very map-centric UI/UX. We believe the information you get in a specific location should be all about the content and that the map view really inhibits this process. We have a beautiful UI/UX that allows you to focus on the content and allows you to easily send an acorn just by typing in things like “send an acorn to me@grocery store” and you’ll get a notification whenever you walk near a grocery store. We also have a novel algorithm for location detection that takes less than 1% of battery life per hour of constant activation.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Anyone who has ever forgotten things that they had to do when they got to a certain place, they could use Acorn. This is pretty much everyone.
What is the business model?
Our business model is to raise money through contextual, location-aware ads. For example, when you get notified near a grocery store by an acorn with your grocery list, that grocery store may also have ads next to your list advertising discounts on items that you can use right then and there!
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
We will release in the next two weeks, have several marketing campaigns to acquire users and get a couple of advertisers onboard.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community, who would it be and why?
Patrick Keane. We would love to know what he thinks about location-aware marketing given his experiences at CBS.
What is your take on the current scene in New York today?
The New York tech scene is vibrant and exciting. I believe that it could support a very different cohort of companies than Silicon Valley due to its geographic layout and walking commutes. Apps like Acorn are perfectly tailored to thrive in this atmosphere.
How will being in NYC help your startup?
Acorn focuses on offering up contextual aware information and therefore it is at its best when users are able to receive a message when they arrive at a location. People walking around in NYC are much more likely to respond than people driving around Silicon Valley.
Where’s your new favorite place to hang out downtown?
We just arrived in NYC so we don’t know a place downtown, but we love Central Park and the ability of people to share tips and information in certain parts of the park.