Location Data Startup Officially Launches, Grows Globally Through Million-Dollar Seed Round

X-Mode, a provider of location data spun out of a college safety app called Drunk Mode, will officially launch this week with the goal of ensuring that companies have access to a higher standard of location data by tapping into a variety of technologies that most companies do not use.  

The data feeds into a panel and is tied to a consumer's visit to a Taco Bell or Burger King restaurant, for example. The actual location comes from GPS, beacons, Wi-Fi and IoT signals, but X-Mode also uses speed, phone positioning, and altitude. "The ability to measure and combine telematics and frequency provides greater accuracy," said X-Mode CEO Josh Anton.

The company also developed an app that tells consumers the type of data companies collect off their phone.

About 40% of X-Mode’s revenue comes from outside the United States, so the startup needed to build its technology around compliance worldwide.

Data requirements must meet all current regulatory standards including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). So the company works tirelessly educating marketers and consumers on quality, privacy and transparency.

It’s more than a full-time job for many people. “The good thing is, legislation moves much slower than the speed of technology,” Anton said. “We knew GDPR was coming, so rather than just wait, we started working on it.”

Anton said if a city changes its laws overnight, X-Mode can geo-fence and separate the data by city and use it to create a new opt-in.  

X-Model already works with about 70 clients, including the University of Virginia. 

In total, X-Mode and Drunk Mode raised about $5 million in seed funding. Out of that total, approximately 20% came from industry leaders in the ad tech space, including the former CEO and COO of Mapquest. 

Their diversity in the employee pool, from publishing to technology, speaks to the company’s focus. About 22 engineers of the 52 employees focus on data collection and compliance. One engineer worked at Amazon in machine learning, and another worked at Skyhook Wireless. The company’s VP of engineering came from Booz Allen Hamilton. Donnie Yancey, the former COO of Mapquest, is X-Mode's CRO.

Advertisers use the location data to determine the effectiveness of campaigns. About half of X-Mode’s revenue comes from companies verifying people have seen their billboard advertisements. About 35% of revenue comes from smart mobility to understand where companies should build their next building.

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