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Location-Based Service Provider Balances Security And Privacy

SquareLoop, a three-year-old developer of wireless location-based messaging services, has just secured $1 million in funding. The company promises to protect the privacy of mobile users even as it broadcasts sometimes urgent messages based on their location.
SquareLoop, a three-year-old developer of wireless location-based messaging services, has just secured $1 million in funding. The company promises to protect the privacy of mobile users even as it broadcasts sometimes urgent messages based on their location.SquareLoop's technology is in test mode now, with general availability planned for the first half of 2008 as the company signs go-to-market partners. The startup will offer campus security, public safety, mobile marketing, and other location-based services via its Mobile Alert Network, which uses SMS technology.

One differentiator will be that SquareLoop's service is geographically targeted, meaning messages can be sent to users in a particular ZIP code, campus, or metropolitan area. A three-step process is involved: a location is designated; a message is sent over commercial cellular networks; and the message is received by mobile phones that have downloaded SquareLoop's applet. The message only goes to subscribers in the designated area.

SquareLoop's Mobile Alert Network doesn't rely on location tracking or monitoring of subscriber whereabouts, a point the company emphasizes to diffuse privacy concerns. Its technology was originally developed by Mitre Corp. for military applications, according to SquareLoop.

Competitors include Roam Secure, E2Campus, and First Alert Text. SquareLoop says its service will go further by supporting geographic targeting, special alert tones and vibrating cadences, and longer messages. SquareLoop is using level 3 SMS, which supports a direct connection to carriers for higher reliability.

The $1 million investment comes from angel investors Raul Fernandez, CEO of Object Video, and Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One, among others.