Ah, Loopt. The social check-in service had a fairly good-sized following, but quickly became overshadowed by the likes of Foursquare, Gowalla, and built-in offerings such as Google’s Check In with Latitude and Facebook Places. The check-in field is thinning out recently, as Facebook has recently acquired Gowalla and services such as SCVNGR have failed to gain a following. Loopt is the next service to ride off into the check-in sunset.
On the eve of the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, payment solutions company Green Dot has announced that it has acquired the struggling check-in service, with an eye on entering the mobile wallet arena. Green Dot believes that the talented employees at Loopt can help them make a splash in the mobile wallet market, and has set aside a whopping $9.8 million to fund a retention pool that will provide compensation to employees who choose to stay with Green Dot post-acquisition.
TechCrunch points out that both Loopt and Green Dot share at least one common parent investor, Sequoia, and speculates that Sequoia could have pushed the Loopt acquisition as a means of protecting its Loopt investment. The acquisition is on the fast track, and should be approved before the end of the month.
In addition to building out a mobile wallet service, Green Dot will use Loopt’s mobile marketing patents to drive location-based messaging delivered in real-time to a mobile handset. These patents should bolster its foray into the mobile wallet arena and perhaps better ward off competitor offerings.
Little is known about Green Dot’s plans to move into mobile wallets, though they have indicated they will announce more information about their mobile strategy during their Q1 2012 earnings call, which will take place on April 26th.