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In May 2000, the U.S. government turned off Selective Availability, a feature which limited the accuracy of GPS signals for civilians. Within 24 hours, Dave Ulmer placed the first geocache (at that time called a "GPS Stash") and posted its coordinates online. Within three days, two people used their own GPS receivers to find the container and shared their experiences online.

Four months later, Jeremy Irish began as a listing site to support the hobby. He was soon joined by Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth, who he worked with in his "real job" at a late 90's dot-com era startup. The three men were inspired by the ways in which location-based technology could enhance outdoor recreation. They founded Groundspeak Inc. to explore this matter and manage The founders obtained initial funding for the site from the sale of 144 donated geocaching t-shirts.

In the years since its founding, Groundspeak has continued to develop tools that leverage technology to create unique adventures in the real world. The company's product portfolio expanded to include in 2005 and in 2008. Groundspeak is a privately held company in Seattle, Washington.