Our Investment in MapBox

by Ryan McIntyre

We are pleased to announce that we’ve led the $10m Series A funding of MapBox. Based in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA, MapBox provides a highly customizable mapping platform based on open data sources for web and mobile application developers. We became aware of MapBox this past summer via two vectors: Zack Rosen, CEO of our portfolio company Pantheon, introduced us to Eric Gundersen, CEO of MapBox, and our portfolio company Gnip worked with MapBox and data artist Eric Fischer (now part of the MapBox team!) to do some amazing visualizations using geotagged tweets. When a company and entrepreneur is recommended to us via multiple trusted sources, we pay attention. While the digital mapping and satellite imagery industry has long been dominated by large companies, governments, and a proprietary data mindset, the open-source and open-data movements have made inroads into the mapping world. Most notable is the OpenStreetMap project, started in 2004, which now has over one million contributors worldwide building an ever-growing and extremely rich dataset. MapBox embraces open-data and open-source and provides a rich set of tools that enable publishers and web and mobile developers to quickly and easily add fast, beautiful, and highly customizable maps to their sites and apps. As a quick example: here’s a map of Foundry Group global headquarters using our logo, font, and color palette:

As evidenced by the companies in our Protocol and Glue themes, we are big fans of API-driven products consumed by developers that provide fundamental “every app needs this” functionality, and MapBox fits very much into this worldview. What’s more, MapBox has been bootstrapped to date: Eric and team have built their platform with no outside funding, and they have landed an enviable list of customers including Foursquare, NPR, Evernote, USA Today, The Financial Times, Github, Hipmunk, Greenpeace, and more. We’re excited to welcome the MapBox crew to the Foundry Group family, and to work with them to help build the future of geo software.

Update: check out MapBox’s blog post and WSJ’s coverage of the financing.