Apple Buys Locationary and Suggestions


In September of 2012 Locationary’s CEO, Grant Ritchie wrote a detailed article about the challenges Apple Maps faced during the release of the iPhone 5 and suggestions to fix it. Apple must have listened as the tech giant scooped up the assets and staff in a buyout that reportedly has been completed, but the amount has not been disclosed.

Ever since Apple released the usage of Google Maps on its iPhone platform, fans of the big fruit have not been happy. Apple collaborated with GPS manufacturer Tom Tom to deliver the point-of-interest (POI) data. Something that remarkably failed, as consumers took to social media to out convey a list of problems. Apple CEO Tim Cook must have experienced burning ears for months, and eventually issued an apology to customers with a promise to resolve the glitches and improve the overall functionality of their map app.  Ears perked as many hoped Google Maps would be back. While that isn’t the announcement the new one is equally as exciting.

Enter in Locationary. The database enriched website broadcasts information for over 20 million places in about 156 countries worldwide. The company assists organizations, now including Apple, in managing local data across sites.  Ritchie had expressed a previous need to expand its services outside of a website,

“We want to take the data management process to a bigger level. We’re working with publishers, app developers, and more to make this happen.”

It seems with this buyout, both sides of the equation will gain what each has been missing. Locationary brings with it an accuracy of data information that can help Apple with their inability to provide the same, with the flawed maps app. In the 2012 article written by Ritchie, one very clear statement was released.

Unfortunately for Apple, matching is time-consuming to analyze data, identify exceptions and improve the system. It requires a complex algorithm that needs profile details, crowdsourced info, and machine learning and reporting tools. Many parts need to be resolved in sequence so it isn’t a task where 30 developers will finish 30 times sooner than one developer.

Ritchie founded Locationary in 2009 with an idea to “manage the world’s local data.” The firm was a success in Canada and even won the country’s 2010 CIX Award and received $2.8 million for additional financing and growth as part of the prize. Ritchie has impressive credentials.

He is an experienced systems designer, and technologist. He previously was the co-founder of ‘Canadian Hotel’ which quickly climbed Canada’s search engine results, as a leading marketer of hotel inventory. Ritchie has been a long-time entrepreneur and even spoke to University of Toronto students in 2010 regarding entrepreneurship. The title focus was, ‘What Really Matters: the little things that made a real difference.’

The savvy CEO shared with his students his tale of growing up in a family that was surrounded with entrepreneurship. His parents and grandparents created and built their own businesses, successfully. A passion that evidently was passed onto Ritchie. Locationary started with eight people at the helm to configure accuracy and develop points of interest. His own college studies dabbled in Economic, Finance and Tax Law.

Fast forward to 2013 and the small Canadian based firm is now making headlines with one of the largest tech dominated companies in the world. The total amount has not been disclosed of the buy-out, but the last quarter of 2012 showed Locationary’s value around $2.5 million. This could see a very nice payday for Ritchie and his partners. In addition, this could just save Apple from anymore hate mail from disenfranchised fans. The rollout of the iPhone 5S is sure to make waves.

Angelina Bouc

Sources 1, 2

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