Locu is a local-data company that began by helping restaurants digitize and share their menus. With its new API, it has a chance to become the backbone of applications that help users discover products and services offered by local businesses. Developers have yet another tool.
There are a number of competitors in this space. For instance, SinglePlatform, which also helps restaurants digitize and syndicate their menus, whether to UrbanSpoon, Foursquare or other platforms. It too works with other small businesses that might not have “menus,” but do have a list of services, like a gym or salon. SinglePlatform was recently acquired by Constant Contact for up to $100 million.
The differentiating factor, Locu claims, is, of course, the quality and specificity of its data. Its process combines web crawlers, human data gathering and user updates to make sure its information is accurate. The dev site states that the API will allow developers to make “location-based queries for detailed venue, price list and price list item information.” The API officially launches this weekend at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco where Locu will hold a workshop to generate interest among developers and others in working with their data.
In an interview with PandoDaily, Locu Co-founder and CEO Rene Reinsberg says, “We envision…apps that help people search for dining based on dietary, nutrition or allergen information; specialized online ordering services; niche-focused daily deal sites; services that help you find dishes or restaurants in a new area similar to your favorites back home; crowd-sourced recommendations for specific dishes and services.”
Locu has reportedly raised a total of $4.6 million to date, with 15 employees split between San Francisco and Boston. By comparison, SinglePlatform reportedly raised $4.45 million before the acquisition and now has over 50 employees.