The Local Measure team at work: Jonathan Barouch
Sydney entrepreneur Jonathan Barouch has killed his Roamz app to feed its business-to-business successor, Local Measure.
Barouch founded Roamz in January 2011 with about $3.5 million in funding, including $200,000 of his own money.
The free, Roamz app allowed users to find and review nearby restaurants, pubs, events and places.
Barouch said the app was downloaded more than 200,000 times before he shut down the service yesterday.
“We never really cracked how to monetise it,” he said. “You can put ads in but even Instagram, with more than 100 million downloads, hasn’t figured out monetisation.
“We’re getting really great traction with the business version [Local Measure], and it didn’t make sense for us to support the free version [Roamz].
“Of course I’m sad that we’re not going to have a free version, but we want to still be around in 2, 3 years as a business with a kick ass product.
“Our board and investors have been supportive.”
While the Roamz brand is gone, its investors and 11-person team will continue operating Local Measure, which aggregates geo-tagged data from Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram to identify marketing opportunities.
Barouch described Roamz as a “proof of concept” for Local Measure. He declined to disclose how the board came to its decision to discontinue the free service, but said the team hadn’t done much work on Roamz for the past 6 months.
Salmat is a major shareholder of the business.
“Clearly, everyone [on the board] is interested in the product that’s getting revenue and press coverage,” he said.
“Local Measure is a 3-month-old business; we monetised it from the first day.
“It’s the same team, the same technology. We’re evolving based on what customers have said – that’s part of the journey as a start-up.”
Barouch said there were 600 businesses signed up to Local Measure, which charges $59-$99 a month. More partners will be announced in coming weeks, he said.
He suggested that the company would be open to an acquisition and that its technology would likely appeal to a number of Silicon Valley giants.
“As a founder, my job is to build value for our shareholders,” said Barouch, who launched his first successful start-up, Fastflowers, as a teenager in 1999.
“We’re not sitting here everyday and saying, ‘I hope we get bought out’. We’re working on building a kick ass product and some pretty valuable IP.”
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