Apple has forked out $20 million to buy Silicon Valley startup WiFiSLAM, an indoor wireless mapping technology outfit that’s financially backed by an Indian investor in San Francisco.
Apple is said to have clinched the deal for $20 million, small change for a company that has $137 billion in cash.
WiFiSLAM was founded by a bunch of no-namers (unknowns) Joseph Huang, Jessica Tsoong, Darin Tay and Dave Millman.
Apple confirmed the acquisition to the Wall Street Journal.
WiFiSLAM – Indoor GPS
Palo Alto, California based WiFiSLAM has been building location-based mobile app technology.
WiFiSLAM’s widgetry allows smartphone locations (and the location of your friends) to be pinpointed in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using WiFi signals present inside buildings.
Apart from step-by-step indoor navigation, WiFiSLAM’s technology has diverse applications.
For instance, companies could use the technology to build applications to deliver coupons to shoppers’s mobile phones when they are inside supermarkets.
The fledgling’s technology can also be used for proximity-based social networking.
Apple will leverage WiFiSLAM’s technology inside its mapping software but it’s not clear how exactly it will do with it.
Apple has been strengthening its mapping software after receiving severe flak for its poor quality (when compared to Google Maps) when it was introduced last year.
WiFiSLAM’s backers include Naval Ravikant, a well known serial angel investor in Silicon Valley startups.
Besides Twitter, Ravikant has invested in dozens of startups including Codeacademy, AngelList and Foursquare.
AngelList is a match making service that connects startups with angel investors.
Ravikant invest in four to six startups a year, putting in anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars.