It is great to see continuing venture capital and public market interest in areas such as data acquisition, unmanned aerial systems, manufacturing, AEC and GIS solutions providers.
MapBox (@MapBox) announced yesterday that it had taken a Series A investment of $10M from Foundry Group (@FoundryGroup). After three years of bootstrapping the MapBox business, in the words of Eric Gundersen (@ericg), funding lets us plan for years of building the future of geo software, from the ground up.
MapBox is a cloud-based platform which allows for developers to embed geo rich content into their web and mobile offerings. MapBox sources its mapping data from OpenStreetMap, keeping its operating costs low and without a tie to proprietary back end mapping databases. It will be interesting to see how MapBox navigates the GIS/Geo Software playing field over the coming years – but more developer choices, relying on crowd-sourced mapping data, could be quite transformational indeed.
Foundry Group continues its string of investments in the technical solutions space. They were part of a team which invested $30M into Chris Anderson’s (@chr1sa) unmanned aerial systems company 3D Robotics (@3DRobotics) a few weeks ago, which I blogged about here and were also invested into Makerbot (@Makerbot), which was recently acquired by the 3D printing company Stratasys (@Stratasys) (in mid-August 2013) for $403M (+up to $201M in earn-outs). Seth Levine (@sether) explained some of Foundry Group’s rationale for the MapBox investment here.
Foundry Group is currently also invested into Occipital (@Occipital) which has recently developed a 3D capture device which connects to an iPad, called the Structure Sensor. Occipital currently has a KickStarter campaign going for the Structure Sensor, and as of today they are only a few thousand dollars shy of the $1M mark. In June 2013 Occipital acquired ManCTL, adding a strong team to an already deep computer vision bench, but in this case on that had the chops to do real time 3D scene reconstruction from PrimeSense powered (a/k/a the Microsoft Kinect) devices. Foundry Group put $8M into Occipital in August of 2011.
I am very excited to ultimately see what comes from both MapBox and Occipital!
It will be interesting to see whether/if Andreessen Horowitz (@a16z) looks for a big data, geo centric sector investment as well.