Digital startup Locpin was founded by Guy Davenport and his father in 2012, and has created a location technology that enables people to pinpoint an address on a map along with its GPS co-ordinates. The system then generates a six-character code to be used by others to find that exact spot.
The code is effectively a location fingerprint and can be shared with e-commerce and logistics businesses to provide more accurate delivery point information, rather than relying on postcodes.
Locpin links to other details as well, so that locations can be matched to a phone number or email.
If a Locpin user changes address they simply move their Locpin on a map and update the address, rather than needing to generate a new code. The Locpin code is effectively unique and free for life.
Locpin recently launched as an official product and company, based in London. The team of four mostly work remotely, but will look for more office space as the startup grows and the technology develops.
V3 fired our spotlight questions at Davenport to find out more about Locpin.
Why did you develop Locpin?
I've had problems with lost and late deliveries, just like everyone else I know. We all rely on postcodes to specify where we are. The problem is that they're great for sorting mail but, with an average of 16 addresses in each postcode (there can be up to 100) they're not very specific.
When we analysed the scale of the problem, in the UK alone, around 80 million deliveries will fail to get there first time this year, and it became obvious that accurate delivery point data would help.
So Locpin is a simple way of adding GPS co-ordinates to address information, without having to remember the co-ordinates.
Tell us how you got your business off the ground.
Last year we ran a private beta test of a prototype product. Following the success of the beta test we were able to convince private investors that Locpin was a business worth investing in. That gave us the funding to get to launch.
What technology does Locpin use?
We've worked hard to ensure that our website is responsive and mobile-friendly. We're working with ASP .NET, and the SQL database is cloud-hosted with Amazon Web Services.
We have a standard Java API for easy integration with any e-commerce site that needs accurate address information from customers or other users.
We'll be launching a dedicated mobile app for iOS and Android in September. That's currently in development using PhoneGap.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
The biggest challenge we have had to solve for Locpin is that we need to attract users to persuade businesses to adopt Locpin as a standard, and vice versa.
If we get to the point where people say 'What's your Locpin?' as much as they say 'What's your postcode?' we'll have succeeded. It's a chicken-and-egg problem that we believe our business-facing API has solved.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business so far?
Securing the funding to get us through launch and into operation was a big moment. We've also just finished a video which outlines what Locpin does and who it's for, which I'm really proud of.
What did you do before starting up?
I studied Chemistry at Bristol. After graduating, I worked as an analyst for a high-tech manufacturing company.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
My favourite thing has to be seeing the product evolve and how people are using it. We've come a long way from where we started, and the journey has only just begun!
But sometimes trying to find enough hours can be really tough. There are so many things to do.
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which would it be?
PayPal. They had to overcome a very similar chicken-and-egg challenge to us and have gone on to be part of everyday life. That's something I'd love us to emulate.
Alan Turing. We wouldn't be in business now without the work he did 75 years ago. He was a serious runner, too.
Smart or casual?
For work I tend to stick to the smarter end of the spectrum, even if it's just a collared shirt and decent pair of shoes. It's so important to give the right impression.
Coffee shop of choice?
Nespresso. I know it's not a shop but I work at home mostly, so my Nespresso machine is my closest ally when I'm in need of some strong black coffee to get me through.
Beverage of choice?
I was in Barcelona recently where I sampled lots of very good gin and tonic, so that would have to top the list at the moment.
I've been using Waze for a long time. It's a really clever app that delivers real-time traffic updates and route planning based on user data.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Not at the moment, but that may change now that we have officially launched. There are a few startup events in London that I'd like to get along to. I think that they're a great way to share experiences with other startups, learn from and support each other along the way.
Could the government and/or technology industry do more to support UK startups?
We've made full use of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Enterprise Investment Scheme to attract investors, as well as benefiting from HM Revenue and Customs' research and development credits for Corporation Tax.
There's a fair amount of financial support available in that way. You just have to look for it.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from cloud-based legal fee tracking platform Apperio, and background checking service Onfido, to gaming social platform gamesGRABR and London restaurant discovery app firm Uncover.
Users are told that their non-existent 'iPhoneID' is expiring soon
Expansion of SDK intended to expand Amazon Alexa ecosystem
Locky returns from a prolonged rest with two new variants
AMD lambasted over Radeon RX Vega pricing that will add an extra £100 to RX Vega 56 and 64 graphics cards
Company accused of failing to tell anyone that the launch prices were only introductory offers