CitySourced app finally launches in L.A., aiming to help city clean up graffiti and potholes [Updated]
A lot has happened since the Los Angeles start-up FreedomSpeaks made a splash in September with its CitySourced mobile application, a finalist at the annual TechCrunch 50 competition. The app enables anyone with an iPhone to snap a picture of graffiti, potholes or unsightly trash around town, tag it with a GPS location and transmit the data to the city.
The app has been available in San Jose for months, but in talks with L.A., the founders were running in water. With frequent meetings about budget cuts, the city wasn't looking to spend any cash on relatively untested software.
But the L.A. version of CitySourced launched on Friday in the iPhone App Store after months of back and forth between the company and city officials. IPhone owners can download it now and start snapping pictures of junk around town, which the city can review and hopefully fix.
[Updated, Mar. 14, 11:45 a.m. FreedomSpeaks removed the app from Apple's digital store and now plans to launch at the end of the month. An earlier version of this story said FreedomSpeaks had inked a deal with San Francisco, but the company says no final agreement has been made.]
Fearing pressure from competing crowd-sourced cleanup apps, CitySourced is giving the city of L.A. free data for some time. Its co-founders wouldn't say how long, but they're hoping the city gets hooked and inks a deal -- a trial period, if you will.
Otherwise, CitySourced will continue collecting submissions from users but stop sending the city the detailed data.
CitySourced co-founders celebrated Friday night after unexpectedly getting news from Apple that the app had been accepted.
Amid a crowded group of liquored-up Internet entrepreneurs on their sort of spring break at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, the CitySourced founders celebrated. Smell of a belated and partial success was in the air at the historic Driskill Hotel -- along with a stench of vomit from some nerd unable to hold his booze.
"We're really excited," said co-founder Jason Kiesel.
Throughout these slow talks, the company is talking with San Francisco. Meanwhile, co-founder Daradics took up stand-up comedy and recently gave a five-minute talk at IgniteLA about what it's like to be a cyborg. (He has a hearing aid implanted in his skull.)
The process has been long and trying, but the pair are looking to eventually expand to other cities while California residents populate the apps with submissions. At least they kept their sense of humor.
-- Mark Milian
Photo: CitySourced co-founder Jason Kiesel at a start-ups party at the Wokcano restaurant in Santa Monica. Credit: Austin Passy