Where it's based: Mountain View, Calif.
When it was founded: 2005
Why it's Fierce: Loopt got its start from a surprisingly common story: A Stanford student has an epiphany about a revolutionary capability for a mobile phone. For co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, a sophomore computer science major at the time, it was being able to see a map of where all his friends were on a mobile phone. Loopt was born and the company developed a social-mapping service that automatically updates and delivers friend location maps, messages and alerts to handsets and the Internet. To date, Loopt has secured deals with Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, Boost Mobile and CBS for its social mapping service, answering the desire of mobile-phone users to leverage location technology to connect and share with friends.
What to Look For: LBS coupled with social networking is growing exponentially, and Loopt is in the position to emerge as a leading player through its relationships with big-named U.S. mobile operators, media companies and LBS technology companies.