Mapping Startup Hivemapper Raises $18M to Give Maps the Web 3 Treatment

Inspired by the success of Helium, Hivemapper will incentivize participation in the network with the distribution of its native HONEY tokens.

AccessTimeIconApr 5, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 5, 2022 at 3:37 p.m. UTC

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

Crypto-enabled mapping startup Hivemapper is trying to give Google Maps a run for its money.

The San Francisco-based company has raised $18 million in a funding round led that was by Multicoin Capital. Some big names from crypto and technology also invested, including Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal, the founders of the Solana blockchain; Jaron Waldman, a former Apple Maps executive; and Amir Haleem, CEO of Helium, which is another blockchain.

According to CEO Ariel Seidman, the funds will be used to support the mainnet launch of Hivemapper’s native HONEY token and to get more map contributors. In exchange for HONEY tokens, the map contributors install specially designed dashcams in their cars that share footage with Hivemapper, which is then used to create maps.

Seidman, who started Hivemapper as a non-crypto company in 2015, told CoinDesk he was inspired by the success and rapid growth of Helium, a crypto-incentivized network of wireless hotspots, which also began as a non-crypto company in 2013.

Seidman envisions Hivemapper’s primary customer – at least for the next two or three years – will be businesses looking for a cheaper and more up-to-date alternative to Google Maps.

“Google’s maps are high quality but also very, very expensive,” Seidman said. “The entire mapping pipeline is exceptional, but its Achilles heel is the fact that it’s so expensive. Your ability to refresh an area is, for places like Lagos, Nigeria, or Manila or other locations – it becomes cost-prohibitive over time.”

Because Hivemapper sells equipment to independent contributors who have their own vehicles, the company's cost is much lower, Seidman explained.

“If you look in Palo Alto – Google Street View for University Avenue, which is in Google’s backyard – probably gets updated every 14 months,” Seidman said. “For the same price, we could probably do it once a week.”

HONEY token

Though the maps and data generated by Hivemapper contributors are open source and community owned, Seidman says Hivemapper will generate revenue by building tools that can then be licensed by companies.

Contributors will be rewarded with HONEY tokens which, like Helium’s native HNT token, could grow in value as the network takes off.

Seidman pointed out that many current contributors to map apps like Waze work for free, simply because they love the work.

“Even as wonderful as Waze was, there are now something like 25,000 Waze map editors. These are people sitting behind their computer screen editing maps … on behalf of what is effectively a multitrillion-dollar company,” Seidman said.

“And they don’t get paid, there’s nothing they get in return for that. They get, maybe, a Google T-shirt or a Waze hat, but that doesn’t sit right with me,” he added.

Hivemapper will also reward map editors – not just dashcam operators – with HONEY tokens.

The company’s first dashcam, which is being made in Pittsburgh, is expected to begin shipping in July.

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
CoinShares Completes Napoleon Acquisition, Can Now Offer Products Across EU

The acquisition of Napoleon Asset Management was subject to approval by the AMF, which was granted on June 28.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Coinbase Says Miners’ Sales of Newly Minted Bitcoins Don’t Add Significant Market Pressure

If all newly issued bitcoin were immediately sold onto the market each day, it would equate to only 900 BTC of selling pressure, the report said.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
WonderFi Closes Acquisition of Crypto Trading Platform Coinberry

The Canadian crypto firm says it's open to more deals for firms hit by the crypto winter.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Crypto Lender Celsius Cuts 150 Jobs Amid Restructuring: Report

Withdrawals are still paused and the company has hired restructuring experts as it faces a financial crisis.

CoinDesk - Unknown