Recent years have seen the astronomical success of developer tools, from Stripe to Twilio, enabling businesses everywhere to modernize their infrastructure stack and meet changing consumer expectations for frictionless check-out, communications, delivery, and more. For merchants, these integrations are increasingly necessary accommodations in light of the Amazon effect, or the impact created by the online empire’s impact on consumer expectations and its ensuing business disruptions.
Nick Patrick, Co-Founder and CEO, Radar, sets out to deliver just that through his startup, a leading geofencing platform providing location infrastructure for every product or service.
Nick says he hopes to “play a small part in keeping the digital and physical world connected, and giving individuals a reason to engage with people, places and things in the real world.”
Setting out to build the Stripe or Twilio of location services
The idea for Radar was born out of Nick’s experience working as a product manager at Foursquare, where he met his co-founder Coby Berman, who worked in business development.
Foursquare was a pioneer in popularizing the concept of real-time location-sharing and checking-in. Coby saw firsthand just how much demand there was from companies who wanted to offer context-aware situations (from retailers offering curbside pick-up to companies optimizing fleet management), while Nick gained insight into just how challenging an engineering and data management problem this is for developers at large (from battery efficiency to platform integrations). Meanwhile, the location services industry was dominated by AdTech stalwarts, who tend to hold users’ data hostage for pricing leverage, which was at odds with the growing security demands developers face in a post GDPR world.
And so Radar was born, as the first full-stack developer-friendly, privacy conscientious location tracking platform.
Future expectations for location-based experiences
Experiences like Uber have made end users increasingly accustomed to tracking their driver in transit. Radar powers businesses to develop a range of use cases from digital ordering and drive through features for restauranteurs, to partnering with governments to alert individuals of issues from road closures to wildfires.
But Nick’s vision for Radar is even bigger than these far-reaching mobile app use cases.
“We’re pretty focused on smartphone use cases today but really Radar can help you collect and make sense of location data from anywhere. Today it might be smartphones or connected vehicles; in the future it might be drones or shipping containers. So you can think of Radar as this machine that helps you ingest location centered data from any device or any use case and trigger these workflows and power these insights for a really wide variety of applications.”
Choosing where and how to grow is an iterative process, inviting ideation not only among team members, but also among customers.
On the heels of Radar’s $55M Series C this February led by Insight Partners, with participation from Accel, Two Sigma Ventures, and Heavybit, Nick is grateful to be in a position of “playing offense and being ready to hire the best talent” now on the other side of the worst of the pandemic, and in the early innings of a market downturn.*
From “CEO of a product” to CEO of a company
As Radar grows, Nick is also challenged to grow in new ways. Prior to starting Radar, he had pursued the computer science, product and entrepreneurship path–first through his BS at Duke University, then as a PM at Microsoft, before completing his MBA at Harvard Business School and forging relationships that would lead him to the problem space he’s most passionate about solving: location. Radar recently brought in a new Head of Product, Matthew Isabel (from GitHub), and Nick will increasingly need to continue to apply his product mindset “towards the entire team and brand we’re building, as if they are the product.”
Nick believes that “great product leaders think about the entire business in the context of product decisions you’re making,” and vice versa when it comes to great business leaders. Dan Abelon, Partner at Two Sigma Ventures who acted as the lead investor for Radar’s Series A, notes, “Working closely with Nick and Coby serves as a constant reminder about the importance of bridging different mindsets, such as product and growth, to create something lasting.”
Nick’s advice for others considering entrepreneurship is to “find a great co-founder who complements your skills, and pick a problem space you’re really passionate about and could see yourself working in for 10-20+ years if that’s what it takes.”
For Nick, that problem space centers on charting a new narrative for location data: one in which location-powered experiences are not only possible with a few lines of code, but also put privacy back in the hands of their end users.