Amsterdam and Singapore-based UNL, a micro-location infrastructure and new generation mapping technology startup, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $4.5M (approx €3.96M) in its pre-Series A round of funding.
The investment comes over a year after UNL’s early-stage funding in March 2020, when the company raised $2M. With the current round, UNL has now raised $6.5M since its inception in 2018.
Investors in this round
The round saw investment from HERE Technologies, a location data and technology platform; Elev8.vc, a Singapore-based early-stage deeptech VC fund; SGInnovate, a Singapore government-backed deeptech ecosystem builder and investor; Venturerock, an Amsterdam-based impact venture builder focusing on deeptech and deep impact; and Fernando Herrera, founder of Nordcloud.
Aditya Mathur, founder and MD of Elev8.vc, says, “Logistics requirements have exploded in the past year. Every enterprise will need to rethink how they amp up their supply chain to meet customers’ hyper-local, hyper-contextual, and hyper-specific delivery needs. UNL can address these needs with its library of plug-and-play geospatial solutions.”
The company says the proceeds from this round will be used to accelerate UNL’s development of the Internet of Places and to expand its operations in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Additionally, the company will also be focusing on solving challenges in last-mile and logistics, starting with bringing accuracy and precision to addressing, geocoding and dynamic routing.
A next-gen micro-location and mapping technology
Founded in 2018 by Mihaela Georgieva, Pascal Verloop and Xander van der Heijden, UNL is a micro-location and mapping platform building the Internet of Places.
Xander van der Heijden says, “Innovation in the mapping and geospatial space so far has been largely focused on data, content, and data visualisation. However, new technologies like autonomous vehicles, drones, 5G, IoT, among others, are bringing in a demand for a new wave of innovations in the industry. Micro-locations and hyper-local data will be critical to the success of these new technologies and the evolution of the location-based economy.”
The company has pixelised the world to digitise physical locations and give them a verifiable digital address – UNL geoID – with a precision of as small as 1x1cm2, including outdoor, indoor and in elevation.
“UNL technology is a zero-legacy geospatial infrastructure, able to solve some of the biggest hyperlocal challenges that traditional mapping hasn’t been able to do so far – starting with accuracy and precision in mapping, addressing, real-time routing and self-healing maps,” adds van der Heijden.
The platform offers companies with mapping, location, and data tools to create their own Virtual Private Maps. Businesses can bring and manage their own data, tap into their workforce experience regarding local navigation and train their own UNL private routers for optimal efficiency.
Building the Internet of Places
Adding a programmable layer to real-life locations, UNL is building the Internet of Places – a digital 1:1 geodata twins to transform places into the next digital platform. Within UNL’s 3D smart grid, UNL geocells are in continuous communication with their neighbours forming a neural distributed locations-based database.
The company believes this will power a new generation of hyper-local, hyper-relevant, and hyper-connected services and applications – from ecommerce to last-mile and smart city solutions.
In the near future, UNL will be launching the UNL Studio, a cloud-based visual editor, where companies can create their own custom Virtual Private Maps (VPMs) and manage micro-services and POI data, without any coding.
Within VPMs companies can bring their own business data and publish hyperlocal data updates in real-time, while keeping data ownership and control within their organisation. Next to this, “we have built mapping, location and data contribution tools to enable companies to tap into their workforce knowledge and experience regarding local navigation and train their own private UNL router for optimal efficiency within the last-mile and last-meter,” says van der Heijden.
VPM, data and updates created within the UNL Studio can be directly connected to businesses’ existing applications, such as a company’s driver apps, order and fleet management systems, via UNL API keys and accessed in real-time. In the near future, ready-to-use applications will be made available in the UNL MAppStore.