Born in the startup hub of the Brazilian Northeast Porto Digital, in the state of Pernambuco, the location platform In Loco is using 60% of the BRL 80 million ($18.8 million) contribution received in 2019 to explore the United States. The startup chose to scale the business in Brazil in its early years as a strategy to attract, later on, investors interested in betting on its internationalization plan.
Being a technology platform for the global Internet of Things (IoT) market is a plan that has been part of In Loco since the company’s conception. The last contribution was obtained in a Series B round, led by the funds Valor Capital and Unbox Capital.
More than volume, what In Loco wants in the USA is to learn. The country is the perfect environment to develop and test location technology like the one that In Loco offers, mainly because it has also been the protagonist of some of the most intense debates on privacy in recent years.
“Our goal abroad is not linked to revenue or the number of users (that we want to reach). In this first moment, we want to plant a flag of In Loco (in the country). Our goal is to win one or two relevant customers”, says the CEO of the startup, who is already in the USA, André Ferraz. Between 15 and 20 people focused on sales, marketing and human resources must be hired for the new office in the next few weeks, and they will be chosen directly by the CEO. Currently, the company has 200 employees counting the offices in Recife, São Paulo and now in the United States.
Present in 60 million smartphones in Brazil, In Loco arrives on American soil with a base of 200 thousand, but targeting 10 million soon. Ferraz does not reveal the latest figures for the company’s earnings, probably for strategic reasons–the larger the startup, and the greater the number of investors, the more “strategic” the data becomes.
In mid-2018, however, the company revealed to the Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico that its revenues had doubled compared to the previous year, from BRL 30 million to BRL 65 million. Questioned about it, Ferraz only pointed out that from 2015, the year the startup hit breakeven, to 2019, In Loco’s CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate, an indicator that represents the rate of return on an investment over a given period of time) was 100%.
How does In Loco works, and how it will conquer the US
According to Ferraz, the focus of the Brazilian startup on American soil will be the use and continuous development of an authentication solution that uses users’ behavioral information based on their location to prove that they are really who they are, without the need to provide data such as CPF , email or proof of address.
“In other words, we create a kind of fingerprint for each user based on their travel pattern, as we understand that no one else in the world will go to the same places as you, at the same time and for the same time interval”, he explains Ferraz.
He says that In Loco’s solution is, in fact, 30 times more accurate than GPS and allows the platform to identify the location of smartphones even indoors.
He points out that there are places where In Loco does not capture data, such as religious temples, hospitals, headquarters of political parties or any other establishment that may be linked to sexual preferences. “In summary, we do not collect information from visits in places that may cause any kind of discrimination”, summarizes the startup’s CEO.
In Brazil, In Loco has clients as diverse as the bank Santander, the retailer Magalu, the fast fashion fabricant and retailer Hering and the neobank Banco Original. The startup’s focus is on companies whose online operations have a strong connection with their offline operations.
All the information gathered by In Loco is grouped, generating insights that help companies better understand their consumers, in addition to allowing them to impact people most likely to visit the store, with the right message, in the right context, via mobile.
“With our technology we are able to map devices that are visiting dealerships in a certain period of time, for example. With this information, a dealership can send a message offering a test drive or even some kind of promotion to those devices that are in dealerships of other brands” , exemplifies Ferraz.