Malmö-based startup Mapillary said on Thursday it has raised $8 million Series A funding round from investors including Sequoia and Atomico, aiming for fast growth to take on Google Street View.
Mapillary taps into local communities, crowdsourcing photos from smartphones or action cameras, and open sourcing its tools – creating a platform for crowdsourced virtual reality.
Since launching in late 2013, Mapillary has mapped almost one million miles with 50 million pictures. Its machine vision technology stitches millions of images together to create immersive ground-level maps and construct locations in 3D.
Proliferation of smartphones has enabled rise of new mapping solutions like Waze, which built its maps based on positioning data from phones.
“We not only plan to fill in the blanks on existing maps, but to create our own complete representation of the earth to benefit governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and curious explorers alike.”
With this new funding from Sequoia, Atomico, LDV Capital and PlayFair Mapillary expects to surpass Google’s coverage in the next three years. There is some room to go – in the first five years of building Street View (2007-2012) Google mapping cars drove more than 5 million unique miles of road.
Mapillary’s founder, machine vision expert and Lund University professor Jan Erik Solem sold his face recognition software firm Polar Rose to Apple in 2013.