【PunNode】Find Your Location Business with HyXen

PunNode Global

Translated from: 台灣:HyXen 勝義科技要幫所有人找到「定位」

People always look for their “locations" in life, sometimes literally spending all their life on questions such as “Who am I?", “Where am I?", “Where am I from?" and “Where will I be?". In the mobile connected world, these seemingly philosophical and scientific inquiries become very tangible. As you may know, telecoms and a few internet giants are competing in location-based offers, raising the bar for startups, but this won’t stop people from trying. HyXen, founded in 2009, attempts to enter this hotspot with unique technologies.

HyXen is a geo-based advertising company based on exclusive technologies. It recently, February 27th to be precise, got listed on Go Incubation Board for Startup and Acceleration Firms (GISA), the latest official mechanism to support small-sized innovative companies in securities market. Its main business covers location based service solutions and technology licenses, mobile ads platform, as well as customized mobile applications. With positive feedbacks from investors after listed, I ask co-founder and COO Joseph Lin about their roadmap and future locations.

How is HyXen different from others?

It’s a location technology-based and engineer-centered startup. When it comes to geo-location, people instantly refer to GPS or Facebook check-ins, which seems to be well-developed. There remains issues in application, however, such as indoor precision (differently from indoor navigation), power consumption, inter-telecom information integration, changing virtual IDs, and market competition. For example, Facebook used to import location data from Google, but it was terminated later by Google.We’ve been developing a hybrid platform named MobileLocus since the very beginning, with more details on our website. Basically, we come up with an algorithm to take frequencies from all sources, including GPS, Wi-Fi and handsets, to improve location service quality and precision. We have collected over 1 billion sets of data, and it’s growing by 50 million each month. How do you get so many?

We have only 20 people in the company at most, so the Google way is impossible. We have developed quite a few applications, some for customers, and others for our platform. These apps help us collect data. Sped Detector, launched in 2010, for example, is open to the world. While users enjoy its features, it also send location data back to us. Users are clearly informed that the app will collect location data unrelated to privacy. These applications help people and us at the same time.

Our apps have 3 million downloads collectively. We are trying to find an entry point under Google hegemony, and avoid privacy issues incurred by telecoms and internet giants.

What’s your business model?

The ads platform AdLocus was released on June 15th, 2012. Advertisement wasn’t in our minds in the first place. As engineers, we focus on how to reach deals with smartphone manufacturers via licenses or other models. For operation reasons, however, we develop applications for clients and ourselves, which turn out to be popular. Mobile gaming and ads markets are growing fast in the past few years as well, so we build AdLocus to do a better job on location-based advertisement. In retrospect, AdLocus is based on all we have done before.

AdLocus is a mobile ads network with our location technology MobileLocus. We offer comprehensive ads services and software-based solutions.

With our technology, AdLocus can offer pull and push ads at the same time, according to area or specific locations. Ads can interact with target audience, even if they are not our application users, to maximize effects. CTR, on average, is 5% to 15%, influenced by ads attributes.

After GISA, what’s your next short-term goal?

First and foremost, we need to have sustainable client base and revenue source. Mobile ads are now charged by CPA/CPI, instead of CPC, and we’ll offer services like this, such as our application Zero Card. It not only offers points and rewards to users, but also integrates our location technology and practical features as incentive.

We’ll also improve location-based service quality and technology, in response to customer needs. We’ll be able to push differentiated messages in various ranges for more possibilities. The algorithm will include more RF signals. Bluetooth and NFC may not be always on. Users tend to turn on Wi-Fi or 3G more often. Some people don’t access internet with their handsets. Our hybrid technology is suitable to all these scenarios to offer the best location-based services and user experiences. Even if there’s only an IP, we can give you accurate position at the citywide level. Businesses may not need an app to provide geo-location services.

Who’s your major competitor and how do you respond?

Google is the major player, and it’s quite unlikely for HyXen to confront it heads-on. On the other hand, our platform can include as well, since it’s hybrid by nature. We support multiple operating systems, which may be impossible for Google now. We definitely welcome partnership to expand AdLocus via license, distribution or profit-sharing.

Why do you decide to get listed on GISA?

Just like other startups in Taiwan, I am always complaining about insufficient investments and supports from government. That’s why I decided to give GISA a try when I knew it. I want to be in the change, not just criticizing on the sidelines. I’ve thought about withdrawal during application process, which is really an extra burden, as we’re already so busy with our business. However, I learn to communicate in this experiences. Everyone in HyXen has to understand and support this idea, otherwise it won’t work.

Listed in GISA is better to get media attention, easier for recruitment, and more persuasive in business negotiation. The initial fundraising round is very successful, even though there are not many startups yet. Now we have to think about stockholder service and response. Major enterprises may have an established system for this, but not us.

What’s your ambition?

Many startups in Taiwan hope to change the society for the better, so do we. That’s why our new app integrates location technology and social services to highlight resources available.

We have received SME CSR Award. It’s always our ideal to build closer relationship between people. Some people may say our company is too small to talk about corporate social responsibility. Businesses should not start charity only after profits. CSR should be one of our core operations and give back to the society right away, startups included.

It’s not easy to compete with goliaths like Google, but it’s still possible. foursquare accumulates enormous amount of data as pioneer. Even its unable to compete with Facebook or Twitter on social, it’s transformed into a data supplier and advertiser to companies like Twitter. Last month, foursquare receives $15 million investment from Microsoft, and its services will be included into Windows Phone handsets and Bing map. AdAge has an in-depth article about foursquare advertising approach.

AdLocus is similar to foursquare. The amount of data in such a short time represent a correct development map. The real market competition is worldwide and dominated by oligarchy. HyXen needs to acquire resources and expand internationally as soon as possible.

(勝義科技共同創辦人 Joseph Lin)