Israeli start-ups have done particularly well in “retail apps” — mobile and desktop apps that provide users with a better shopping experience and help stores and businesses figure out ways to get customers to spend more money.
Among the start-ups working in this area is a company called KitLocate, which has built a location system that lets retailers find shoppers in their area and offer them deals and coupons. KitLocate designed code that retailers can add to smartphone apps they distribute — for example, loyalty apps that list the locations of stores, deals of the week, etc. The code monitors the location of the phone’s user, and when users pass in the vicinity of the store, restaurant, or service provider, they get pop-up offers for special deals, coupons, etc.
It’s just the thing retailers have been looking for, and it’s for that reason the company was awarded $25,000 in a competition sponsored by MasterCard Israel and the Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATA). Along with the cash, KitLocate, which was established in October 2011 and has just four employees, will be accepted into the prestigious Junction accelerator in Tel Aviv, funded by Genesis Partners.
KitLocate was chosen from a pool of 40 applicants, with 10 invited to present their products in a finale face-off. All of the applicants have technologies that are appropriate to the consumer space: The runner-up in the contest was a company called KidsCash, which provides an e-wallet for kids that parents can supervise, and the second runner-up was SelInApp, which allows the sale of physical goods in virtual online games.
As a company very connected to the consumer space, MasterCard Israel was as pleased as could be with the companies that competed in the contest.
“The quantity and quality of the competitors proves that Israeli start-ups are on the cutting edge of developing creative products in the area of finance,” said Daniel Cohen, who directs MasterCard Israel. “MasterCard’s vision is that of a ‘world without cash.’ MasterCard supports innovative technology through a number of organic channels, among them MasterCard Lab in Ireland, where the company’s new products are being developed, and at relatively young Israeli start-ups, such as those that participated in the competition,” Cohen added.