Digital West

Location-Based Startup Glympse Partners with BMW

Czech Fans Can Sign Up For a Test Drive -- and Watch The Car Come to Them

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Location-based services app Glympse is announcing a partnership with BMW at Ad Age 's Digital West Conference today, enabling Prague residents to sign up to test drive a BMW 1 Series by "liking" the automaker's Czech Facebook fan page, and the movement of the vehicles will be tracked in real-time via Glympse.

The promotion begins Sept. 23 and was timed to sync with the European launch of the BMW 1 Series this month. Fans of BMW's Czech Facebook page can enter their location within Prague city limits to request that a car be dispatched for a test drive. They can track its progress via Glympse, an app that lets users share their location with a select group on a dynamic map for a set period of time --up to four hours.

BMW anticipates accommodating dozens of test drivers, according to an executive.

"We wanted to create a campaign that allows Facebook fans to step out of the BMW online world into the BMW offline world within minutes," said Philipp Arbter,innovation manager for emerging media at the automaker's Munich headquarters via email.

Glympse - a two-year-old, venture-backed startup - partnered with mobile carrier Orange to track the location of ice cream trucks in London over the summer, but this marks the first partnership with a global brand, said CEO Bryan Trussel.

"BMW is great because they're a very high quality international brand, but they always get online," said Mr. Trussel, who noted that the partnership was the result of an informal meeting with members of BMW's Mountain View, Calif.-based technology team, who then told the marketing team in Munich about Glympse.

Glympse is currently closing in on 1.5 million users, Mr. Trussel said. The startup is only starting to explore corporate partnerships, and typical usage of the app "is very much consumer-oriented," he said. A typical use case he gave is setting up a Glympse when leaving the office to keep family members apprised of your progress towards home.

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