Amazon is starting its move to enter the mapping world. They had just acquired 3D mapping startup UpNext.
Amazon doesn’t have any mapping apps of its own. Its acquisition of UpNext is stepping into a new territory. Amazon’s Kindle Fire doesn’t have mapping apps. It rely on third-party Android apps and online mapping services through the browser. But with UpNext’s acquisition, it would greatly help Amazon’s mapping capabilities. It would add potential points into Aamzon’s Kindle Fire in the future and their eventual smartphone.
UpNext was founded in 2007 by highschool friends Raj Advani, VikAdvani, Robin Har and Danny Moon. They created UpNext to provide interactive and detailed three-dimensional maps of cities and venues. The company was bootstrapped by the 4 co-founders on March 2011 when they raised $500,000. The company’s investors include Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, David Cohen’s Bullet Time Ventures, David Tisch’s Box Group and Paul Sethi’s PKS Capital.
The price of the acquisition is not yet formally announced to the public but there are rumors that it was 5x return on the investment from 16 months ago. The four-person company will be going to Seattle to lead the company’s development of their new acquisition. It is according to a source who is very familiar with the matter.
UpNext has many major tech company suitors. But it stood strong and released apps for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices. Its services covers 50 cities nationwide and 23 of it has enhanced details. It was been a partner of NFL to develop guides to the Super Bowl. That partnership granted NFL with maps of the stadium and surrounding area.
The app has given users a way to virtually emulate cities. Users will be able to drop down into cities and streets and tap their way to gain more information about buildings and different angles of the location. The map also includes point to point direction.
The real question remains, will people switch from popular mapping apps like Google Maps to Amazon’s new mapping app? Can they throw away from track Apple which has gained a head start of creating mapping apps?