One aspect of today’s culture is that we are always wondering what other people are doing. Not so much because we need to fit in, rather because we are interested in knowing what’s happening that’s exciting around us. So why isn’t there an easier way to know where people are hanging out in relation to me? Well thanks to Heat, now there is. The convenient app tracks in real time the locations of all its users to tell you how hot certain places are as well as a breakdown of what type of people are there.
Today we sit down with CEO and founder Dipanjan Chatterjee about Heat as well as the future of location-based-services.
Tell us about the product or service.
HEAT is a mobile crowd sourced platform that uses location based services and real time location systems to identify trending establishments in real time. Our machine-learning algorithm corrects inefficiencies and progressively predicts better data now and in the near future. It is the “Waze of going out,” and aims to answer the common daily question consumers find themselves having, “Where do we go?”
How is it different?
Location based services (LBS) data and Real Time Location systems (RTLS) and its applications in the consumer space are very new. It would be very difficult to create effective consumer products in this space using LBS & RTLS Data. Traditionally, services like Yelp or Foursquare answered these questions. They are more like reference libraries rather than data visualizations. The way to effectively answer the question, where do we go (in real time) has been difficult because to properly execute, there are three things needed: the widespread adoption of mobile smartphones, the enabling of location based services and low cost solutions for storing and analyzing large amounts of data, i.e. the cloud. We are a real time data visualization tool, X people are here, and Y is female.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We believe we are disrupting two industries. First, from a consumer standpoint we believe the data related to locations and establishments is stale and bias. Reviews and star ratings are the norm. We think in the future more accurate data visualizations are what the public wants. Secondly, location based services and real time location systems are in their infancy and applications like ours are possible because their capabilities have evolved very rapidly. Our external and internal research shows, the LBS & RTLS market is worth about USD $12 billion and it is expected to grow to about USD $54.95 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 37.1%.
What is the business model?
We will create highly customized advertising solutions based on location. We will also create highly secure data products that are derivatives of the user location data. There is significant demand for these data products in various industries as evidenced by the expected growth of the LBS & RTLS market.
What inspired the business?
People like to go out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and or for drinks. Both locals and tourists are always looking to find new and trending spots. They usually have to ask other people, look through a ton of data from other apps such as Yelp, Foursquare, and or Google places to determine what’s trending or read restaurant and bar reviews. This can be very time consuming for the consumer. The HEAT app can quickly display trending places, based on user input in an easy way using a Map based interface. People who use the HEAT app can easily identify places, find out where the locals go and can easily locate bars, cafes and restaurants.
How do you plan on building a viable business in market that has been targeted hundreds of times unsuccessfully?
We believe based on experience, iterations and hours and hours of market research two reasons we could be very successful. One is, the technology (LBS & RTLS) is in their infancy and therefore an open playing field at this point. Whoever has a better product will ultimately win, but the battle is in its early stages. Second is, those who tackled this consumer problem before us used the data collection systems at hand, such as reviews and star ratings. We think rating places is not accurate; its data is bias and stale. Reviews can be bought and sold, so we think in the medium term users will appreciate more dynamic data for choosing leisure activity. For example, if I want to know what the best place is to visit on a Sunday exactly at 5:47pm, the HEAT app would show the Felix Restaurant located in Soho, New York.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
- a) Geo-location based messaging platform, establishments and individuals can communicate based on historical data and location.
- b) Demographics of people in the establishments.
- c) Ability to upload pictures.
- d) More detailed data on establishments.
- e) Expand to other major cities throughout the US and abroad.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
This is not my first start up, so I have the experience of building a successful business. Understanding consumer taste and how it relates to our product, especially with millennials has been challenging. Understanding their mindset and how to solve this consumer experience of wanting faster and an easier way has been motivating. Through hours of reviewing their feedback and consistently making iterations to improve our product, we are heading in the right direction.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
We have been very fortunate in finding talented people who believe in our idea. Influencers, designers, programmers, marketers and we feel that anyone who is passionate about our company and wants to help us reach our milestones is welcome. There are highly capable business and finance people in this city and we believe we can learn much from them.
Why did you launch in New York?
I am a New Yorker. This is the hardest city in the world to start a lifestyle app because New Yorkers have very high expectations. If we are successful here, there is a very high chance; we will be successful in other cities.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Tough question, so many good places. I would say Gramercy Tavern, Cosme and Felix.