Hivemapper raises $18M to create a decentralized map of the world

Hivemapper raises $18M to create a decentralized map of the world

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Mapping startup Hivemapper Inc. today announced it has raised $18 million in early-stage funding that will support the launch of its dashcam and network that will pay drivers in cryptocurrency for building decentralized maps.

Multicoin Capital led the Series A funding round, which brings the total financing for the company to $23 million to date. Craft Ventures, Solana Capital, Shine Capital and Spencer Rascoff’s 75 and Sunny Ventures also participated in the round.

Hivemapper’s vision is to democratize and decentralize the production of maps by putting the tools to create them into the hands of everyday people and also provide an incentive by paying them for their part of the process.

Divers can purchase the dashcam, which can currently be pre-ordered for $449, and get paid in the network’s cryptocurrency HONEY just for driving around their city. Map editors can also earn the tokens by processing the data by carrying out quality assurance and annotating the images with tags such as identifying stop signs, restaurants and stores, as well as other points of interest.

Businesses and governments rely on accurate and up-to-date map data to make informed decisions about logistics, deliveries and directions. They are the other side of the equation when it comes to mapping and benefit from having more people on the road creating constantly updated maps.

Hivemapper co-founder and Chief Executive Ariel Seidman told SiliconANGLE that one of the ways that the company could disrupt mapping is with the freshness of the maps that it produces.

“For example, a Google Street View of downtown Palo Alto, University Avenue, which is Google’s backyard, might get updated only every 14 months from an imagery perspective,” he said. “Then you take a look at someplace like Lagos, Nigeria, and it’s maybe updated every three to four years. There’s a lot of things that change over the course of a single year – or even three or four years – especially in a growing city like Lagos.”

Hivemapper also has a feature called Freshview that allows clients to zoom in on any point and see a time-lapse of the location — basically a Wayback Machine of what it looked like over time as recalled by the network.

Putting the mapping technology in the hands of everyday people also means there’s a greater likelihood that more of the city can be seen and mapped. Siedman elaborated that Hivemapper’s network is in a perfect position to be used by taxi drivers and delivery workers who see every part of the city – including backroads, parking lots and all the nooks and crannies that might get missed otherwise.

“A lot of big fleets, such as the FedExes and UPSes of the world, they obviously pay Google Maps to use their services,” Siedman said. “Yet they’re driving around all day long. One day these delivery vehicles could have a Hivemapper dashcam attached to it and be part of seeding a map that is refreshing at a much higher rate which the company is then also benefiting from.”

The dashcams will start shipping in July 2022. Although the $450 price tag might sound a bit prohibitive, Siedman said that’s only because it’s the first version of the dashcam to be produced. The dashcam is based on open-source software and hardware specifications and the company has already been approached by hardware providers interested in creating their own versions, at large scale, for other markets that would help drive the cost down after launch.

“These maps have the potential to be near real-time,” said Siedman. “An open-source, community-owned map is the only way to continuously construct a living, breathing, ever-updating view of our world.”

Photo: Hivemapper

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