Interview with Ofer Tziperman - Co Founder LocatioNet

After Silicon Valley in US, if there is another place where innovation & entrepreneurship is flourishing, then it is Israel. The culture of start-ups & innovation is widespread across Israel considering the challenging & sometimes hostile environment they face there. Today we explore more about LocatioNet & its flagship service amazeGPs.

In a recent email-based chat with co-founder, Ofer Tziperman of LocatioNet, he gave insights into the emerging opportunity in Location Based Services(LBS).

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
My name is Ofer Tziperman. I am the President and co-founder of LocatioNet. I have over 15 years of experience in the marketing of hi-tech products and with startup companies.

• What is the name of your venture/company?
LocatioNet Systems Ltd. This is the company name. Our flagship product today is the amAze service.

• Please tell us about your venture/company?
LocatioNet was established in 2000 and acquired Totem Multimedia Ltd., a profitable Israeli technology company established in 1991. So the core team has been together for the last 17 years. Totem was established by Meir Dan who is now serving as the CEO of LocatioNet. Meir is the inventor of the company’s technology and patents.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
Due to the acquisition of Totem the company already started with serving existing customers. The idea was to further develop the legacy technology into the telecom market. Initially, LocatioNet was focused on selling LBS infrastructure to mobile operators around the world. However, towards the end of 2004, it was realized that the market conditions had changed and operators were more interested in a readymade service, preferably a hosted service that they could launch immediately and start generating revenues rather than investing in expensive infrastructure.

Accordingly, we have developed the amAze suite of services on top of our own developed technological infrastructure. This has proven successful almost instantly with the launch of the service first by Orange Israel.

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
We are aiming to lead the market for ad-funded off-board navigation services.

• What services it provide for consumers or customers?
amAze is a first-of-its-kind mobile local search and navigation application, and it's totally free!
amAze turns your regular Java-enabled mobile phone into a powerful navigation tool as well as a comprehensive information tool.

With amAze, you get all these options and more:
  • Visual and voice guidance to any destination
  • Search or define any location by its address
  • Search and navigate to businesses listed in local search directories (where available)
  • Present any required location on the map
  • View and use dynamic high-quality maps at various scales
  • View and navigate over high-resolution satellite images
  • Calculate the fastest way between two locations
  • Save and manage personal favourites list
amAze enables one to calculate the route of a journey to any address or point of interest. A GPS will indicate your location along the route with vocal and graphical guidance to your destination in the shortest possible way. amAze is a collaborative effort led by LocatioNet Systems Ltd., together with some leading vendors in the fields of mapping, local search directories and other geographically related content.

• What type of customers/people you are targeting?
Any user with a mass-market Java phone can use the service.

• What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
We have started simply by word of mouth. It is amazing to see how well and fast the word about a free service travels. We are now gearing towards the second phase where we are appointing distribution partners in different countries around the world.

• How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
We have very accurate daily statistics about the number of users, transactions, data consumed, type of information, geographic take-up rates and more. So we can see some very nice exponential growth as it happens.

• What's your thought on the start-up culture and innovation coming out of Australia?
While we also operate in Australia, we can only speak about the start-ups coming out of Israel. Apparently, Israel is the world’s second-largest start-up industry after California.

• What do you think the government should do to improve the culture of innovation?
In the case of the Israeli start-up industry that was a major starting point where the government initiated the venture capital industry that only later was taken by the private sector.

• If you are given an opportunity to change the nation, what 3 things you will do?
To better nurse entrepreneurs. Eventually, they are the drivers but they must receive a fair chance to succeed as their success can pave the way for entire prosperous industries to follow.

• How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up? Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
Yes, this is common here in Israel.

• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
It’s going to be very tough… If you can’t face many negative answers and if you can re-invent yourself again and again during the process then don’t even start it. But if you have been made from the right materials you’ll simply love every minute of the process.

Thanks, Ofer for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for the future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, and tech trends, check this out and our coverage on interviews can be found here