Pelago is the first company funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as part of the $100 million iFund the venture capital firm announced in March at Apple's last big iPhone event. Pelago's software, called Whrrl, ties the mapping capabilities of the iPhone and other smartphones with the ability to find information about places where you, your friends, or anyone has been. Say you're lost in Las Vegas and need a restaurant recommendation. With iPhone in hand, you can scan the locations of nearby restaurants, just Italian restaurants, or just those recommended by foodie friends. Or you could search for the highest-rated bars or kid-friendly activities recommended by friends from your social network. There's going to be a "what's going on around me right now" button, says Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy. "You're always one button away from that immediate context."
Murphy thinks that, among the many iPhone application possibilities, location-based services may be "the biggest breakout opportunity." The venture firm has received submissions from 1,700 startups that hope to raise money via the iFund. So far, it has only funded Pelago and iControl, which makes a home automation application that would give iPhone users remote control over air conditioners, lighting, window shades, and so on. He says the venture firm has extended an offer to one more startup, and is seriously considering another 10.
Kleiner Perkins has extended one more offer to another company and has 10 others they are seriously considering.