Local search is heating up, especially on advanced mobile phones, where augmented reality apps and immersive photo-realistic apps show great promise. EveryScape, a startup in Waltham Massachusetts which has built out immersive 3D photoscapes for 20 cities, raised a $6 million Series C funding. The investment was led led by SK Telecom Americas, a subsidiary of the Korean telecom giant, which will help EveryScape expand into Asia.
Existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Dace Ventures also participated. EveryScape’s previously raised a $7 million Series B in March, 2008 and a $4.5 million Series A in 2005.
Up until now, EveryScape has been stitching together navigable street photos into 3D environments paired with Google Maps. Of course, Google Maps does much the same thing with its Street View feature. EveryScape, however, can take the viewer inside buildings. Businesses can pay to be listed and called out in the street view mode, and even pay for EveryScape to create those indoor 3D tours.
This sort of experience becomes much more useful on a mobile phone when you are trying to find a business or some other point of interest when you are standing on the street nearby. Still, it’s tough to compete against Street View on Google Maps, not to mention similar efforts on Bing. That is why EveryScape is taking partner-driven strategy,” says CEO jim Schoonmaker. He confirms that EveryScape’s relationship with SK will go beyond the investment, but can’t share any details beyond that. He also says more partnerships are on the way, and claims to have a cost advantage over Google and Microsoft in creating these immersive photo-based virtual environments because as a startup EveryScape has been forced to use off-the-shelf equipment. Signing up more partners will be the key to its survival.
EveryScape allows companies to create photo-realistic, 3D interpretations of real-world locations. The locations are then crossed with Google Maps, and users can navigate throughout the city and jump to famous or historical locations. Current locations include major US cities like New York, Boston, and Miami along with far-flung locations like Beijing.