NY Mobile Pioneer Socialight Hops Pond to London


New York-based mobile information start-up Socialight is taking its service to London. Socialight allows users to “tag” the real world with virtual sticky notes using their cell phones.  Other users can then search these notes and find hyper-local, location-specific content.

For example, to search notes posted in the London version of the service, users text keywords to the shortcode, 88811. The information is organised so users can text “pub” or something more esoteric like “pool table” or “goth” to receive precise results. 

Socialight is free, accessible from any mobile-web-enabled handset, and location-aware for most users. In the UK, the service calculates a user’s approximate position using cell-tower triangulation services.  In the US, the service uses keywords (“12th Street and Fifth”) and GPS.

We like the Socialight concept, but think the company probably suffers from the early TiVo problem: hard to explain how it works unless someone grabs you by the lapels and makes you try it. (And then you have to remember to use it, etc.)

After the jump, Dan Melinger, Socialight Co-Founder and CEO, answers a few of our questions, and we estimate the company’s size and growth rate.
Revenue model:

Revenue will come from mobile- and web-based advertising.  CPM and CPC ads are live today, and we will be integrating anonymous geo-targeting.  For us, location is an enabler, letting us better tailor both the core local content and advertising content.  It’s essentially one piece of context (along with time-of-day, user interests, etc., that help us make sure the content will be relevant and interesting to the user.
Note:  We never push advertising; it’s only in-line.  Also, though Socialight’s, er, social, we are not like the mobile ‘friend-trackers’ available in the market.  The only time you tell others where you are or where you’ve been is when you create a Sticky Note.

Company Financing:

Sub-$1 million to-date from angels and founders.



Kamida, Inc., the parent company to Socialight, is headquarted in NYC. In terms of employees, there are 6 full-time, 4 in NYC (near Union Square, East 12th Street between Broadway and University) and 2 in the UK.  The next 6 months are going to be a time of major growth for us.  We plan to expand our team substantially and you’ll see some new, very public, US-based initiatives soon.


We don’t give out user numbers (sorry), but I can say that we have over 100,000 notes posted and our user base has doubled in the last 6 months.

Analysis: Figure 10 notes per person (average) and that means about 10,000 users.  If the base has doubled over 6 months, it’s growing at about 1,000 a month.  This supports our theory that the company has the “early TiVo problem.”