The previous company of Trademarkia CEO Raj Abhyanker was sold to Google, Inc. earlier this week. The company is the Dealmap (a DBA of CenterD, Inc., renamed from Fatdoor, Inc.). According to reports on the web, the company was sold for a reported $30M. The sale was reported in articles of TechCrunch and the New York Times. A message on www.fatdoor.com and www.theadealmap.com reads that the company has been acquired by Google.
Similar to the origin story of Trademarkia, the Dealmap (previously Fatdoor) was started in the patent law firm Raj Abhyanker P.C. The company started at the law firm’s first office above a rug store at the fabled 170A University Avenue location in downtown Palo Alto which of saw the development of Facebook that same year right next door, and Google seven years prior.
More than 50 U.S. and foreign patent applications were filed for the company by Raj Abhyanker P.C., dealing with geospatial and mobile social networking technology. A big value of what Google acquires through the Dealmap acquisition is this trove of patent applications, many of which whose disclosures predate the launch of innovative future products such as Foursquare. (see Dealmap's patent application anticipating Foursquare), AirB&B (see Dealmap's patent application anticipating AirB&B), Groupon (see Dealmap's patent application anticipating Groupon), business profile mapping (see one of Dealmap's many patent application anticipating Google map features and Dealmap's patent application anticipating Google maps business listings), Facebook updates (see Dealmap's patent application anticipating Facebook status updates), Yelp and FoodSpotting's entry into using mobile devices to share local information (see Dealmap's patent application anticipating mobile commerce in Yelp and Foodspotting), and political campaigning used in Obama's 2008 presidential campaign (see Dealmap's geospatial political campaigning patent appliction). Some of the patent applications have recently issued, and Raj is listed on an inventor on more than 15 issued patents or pending applications owned by Google, Inc. including character expression in a geo-spatial enviornment and geospatial fundraising (recently granted, issued patent number forthcoming).
Some popular blogs have caught on to the value of the Dealmap's patent portfolio over the years. For example, Greg Sterling's Screenwerk blog commented in mid 2010 shortly after the launch of Foursquare:
As an interesting aside, FatDoor, the precursor to Center’d/TheDealMap, had this sort of gaming dynamic long before Foursquare emerged. I’m sure there are other examples too. But here’s what I wrote in Q1 2007 when FatDoor originally launched", Greg Sterling, Screenwerk blog June 23, 2010.
In 2007, years before Foursquare was even conceived, Greg Sterling had written about Fatdoor that :
One of the most interesting aspects of the site is the way that it tries to parallel the “real world.” For example, there will be a virtual “mayor” of fatdoor San Francisco and a virtual “governor” of California based on participation in the network and other factors. These individuals may be able to wield power and influence over the community (and potentially the real world) like actual politicians do., Greg Sterling, Screenwerk blog May 29, 2007.
Because of these valuable information technology patent applications, the acquisition of the DealMap was a natural fit for Google.