Within the past few years, Google Maps has been established as the go-to place for not only finding directions, but also seeing the actual location itself. Google, of course, does all the groundwork and takes all of the photos that users are able to access. Based out of Sweden and Los Angeles, Mapillary aims to offer an alternative that enables users to make their own contributions to the map platform.
Launched in February 2014, Mapillary CEO Jan Erik Solem tells me that he was inspired to create the startup from a desire to offer a platform that allows typical users to submit photos through apps for iOS, Android, and Windows (or with a GoPro or Garmin Virb) and to help build a global street map. The platform automatically collects the images, while being careful to protect privacy by blurring out faces in the photo.
The service is completely free to most users, but Solem says that the startup generates revenue by charging commercial users a monthly fee to use an API or to access a private repository. The basic plan for the API is available for 99 Euro per month, but businesses have the options of specifically paying for the private collection, with fees ranging from 99 Euro for 10K photos to 4,999 Euro for access to 1 million photos. At the moment, Mapillary claims 6,000 users.
Just last month, Mapillary pulled in $1.5 million in funding from Playfair, Wellington Partners, LDV Capital, and several private angels. Solem tells me that they previously funded the company with some of their own money, as well as a grant for an undisclosed amount. The team at Mapillary currently numbers just 6, but they are planning to use this latest funding round to hire staff and to expand geographically.