App Focus: Local App Gets Hyper

12:15 PM -- There are a lot of trends in the crowded mobile application space today, so a safe bet for a startup hoping to make it big is to just tackle them all. At least that’s the perspective of new hyper-local social networking app DeHood, launched today for the iPhone.

The details: DeHood is positioning itself as more than just another location-based service, of which there are many. (See Carriers Beat Facebook to Location Game.) The free app is designed to connect you to the people and places in your local community with real-time updates. If there was a robbery next door or just a yard sale, or if a carpool was being set up for soccer practice, you’d turn to DeHood to find out, says founder and CEO Babak Hedayati.

Why it stands out: DeHood also mixes in Foursquare-esque check-ins that reward users with prizes and coupons, discovered through “scratchies,” the iPhone version of lottery tickets. Users can share deals with their friends through Facebook and Twitter Inc. integration and gain status each time they do.

If you’re looking to get to know your neighborhood and you can get the entire neighborhood on board (at least those who own iPhones -- more operating systems are still to come), then you’ve got yourself a compelling bulletin board/social network/coupon-finder for your community. It's designed to be the app you check before you leave the house every morning, Hedayati says.

DeHood’s take: Hedayati, the former CEO of Vyoom, and the rest of the DeHood team have backgrounds in social networking, gaming, and software development. They felt that by combining forces, they could make the neighborhood a better place to live and make some money through local advertisers and sponsors. Armed with seed funding from angel investors, Hedayati says they’re targeting select 'hoods first, including the Bay area, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas. Users can also change locations if they want to check out what other cities are up to.

“Innovators in the hyper-local space are coming up a lot,” Hedayati says. “Those are the guys innovating on technology and on apps simultaneously. We put ourselves in that category -- we’re not just taking someone else's platform and making a cool app off of it. We have our own APIs that are very attractive.”

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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