Startup PopUp is emerging from stealth mode to win the location-based mobile messaging industry. 

Their launch, scheduled for Friday, August 16, 2013, includes the newest version of their mobile application and a promotional, citywide scavenger hunt, Bull City Secrets.

The company, a fall 2012 graduate of The Startup Factory, is the developer of an iOs mobile application that allows users to share and discover notes, comments and reviews at geographic locations.

PopUp is, headed by former Appia marketing executive Dov Cohn, along with Fitch Carrere, and Jason Humpries. The venture maintains headquarters at American Underground @Main St.

The public launch comes a few months after the company closed its first round of financing, a $200,000 round closed at the end of April. The Startup Factory and DC-based Acta Wireless led the round, and 5-6 independent angel investors also made investments in the company.

PopUp is “an idea I’d really been playing with for the last 4-5 years,” said Cohn in an exclusive interview with WRAL Tech Wire. But the idea wasn’t ready for development or launch at that time, he added.

The environment shifted, however, when Apple released location-based reminders in fall 2011. This, coupled with the continued increase in smartphone market saturation, said Cohn, led him to believe the idea still carried weight.

“We take all of that place-specific stuff and we bring it to the surface,” said Cohn, “so it really takes advantage of people being at a place and knowing what they need to know there.”

PopUp answers the question “what do I need to know here and now,” he adds.

Cohn, Carrere and Humpries submitted an application for The Startup Factory. They entered the accelerator for the fall 2012 term with PopUp. Carrere and Humphries worked full-time on the concept, and Cohn was moonlighting on the project while still at Appia, with Appia’s blessing.

The application, for the market in which it competes, is a surprisingly simple concept – what if you were automatically sent recommendations or tips about a specific restaurant, music venue, city park, or grocery store when you arrived at your destination?

Users of PopUp have the option to follow curated content that is recommended from PopUp’s community evangelists, or to leverage their network of friends., said Carrere.

“It works best with your closest friends,” said Carrere, “because you tend to frequent the same or similar places.

“It’s a boring use case,” said Carrere, “but I use it with my girlfriend – she’ll leave me a note at the grocery store.” Foursquare and Yelp don’t allow you to do this, said Carrere.

“What if you could leave a note for anybody at any place?” asked Cohn. That’s what the company is working towards. According to Cohn, the company will profit from enabling businesses to manage their brand accounts.

Upon completing their incubation period at The Startup Factory, the company had gained traction in the marketplace, and was determined to push forward.

“The company was at an inflection point,” said Cohn, “having been the idea behind the company and having more experience, I knew that in order to raise money, I had to be full-time and committed to the company.”

So Cohn left Appia – his last day at Appia was February 1st – and hit the ground running. Cohn and PopUp closed their first investment – $200,000 – in April.

The money has allowed them to finalize the iOs application and acquire users. PopUp is committed to testing the application in the Triangle market.

“There’s not a lot of mentorship or money that I can tap into here,” said Cohn, “but at the same time, it’s a great market for a product like ours – it’s well educated, people have strong disposable income, good arts, entertainment and food culture.”

The Bull City Secrets program is run by PopUp with partners Pretty Fab PR and the Durham Chamber of Commerce. It starts Aug. 16. 

Users can explore downtown Durham, and receive PopUp notifications at more than 20 participating venues or locations. Each venue will provide a special offer or discount that isn’t available through any other platform.

The PopUp app can be downloaded on the Apple iOs App Store, or dial **popup from their iPhone to receive a download link.