All the major map apps like Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Mapquest have walking directions as a standard feature, but the folks at Lumatic don’t think they are good enough. It is creating mobile maps designed for pedestrians, cyclists, and people who use public transit. Originally a TechStars company called Omniar, serial entrepreneur Scott Rafer (MyBlogLog, Lookery, Mashery) joined as CEO a year ago.
He recently raised a seed round of $800,000 from Joi Ito’s Neoteny Labs, 500 Startups, Chamath Palihapitiya, Allen Morgan, Ted Rheingold, and other angels.
Lumatic has an Android app which works right now only in San Francisco. When it gives you directions, it chooses routes which are optimal for walking, cycling or public transport. As you walk through the streets, the app displays a street-view with photos and arrows pointing in the right direction.
The app is built on top of Open Street Map , but the user experience is centered heavily on using photography, landmarks, and visual cues to help people navigate cities. Fighting Google Maps in this category is going to be a tough slog, but if the app can gain a following there plenty of money in local commerce and advertising to make it a worthwhile pursuit.
Lumatic provides landmark and photo driven navigation software for mobile devices. Lumatic makes the mobile experience more human, starting with location. Six of the seven billion people on the planet have never used a streetmap. Now that a billion people have smartphones, either Google is going to teach a whole lot of people to read maps or a new UI will be introduced. Lumatic is that new UI. Lumatic is introducing a photo-driven interface for pedestrian navigation...
Joi Ito is a well-known investor who serves as the Director of MIT Media Lab and chairman of the board of Creative Commons and blog tool company Six Apart. He also sits on the boards of Technorati, Socialtext, and the Mozilla Foundation. Joi Ito was born in Kyoto, Japan.
Chamath Palihapitiya is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Social+Capital Partnership (Social Capital) – a venture capital fund based in Palo Alto, CA that incubates and invests in breakthrough companies in healthcare, education, financial services, mobile and enterprise software. Preceding his focus as an investor, Chamath was the longest tenured member of Facebook’s senior executive team and helped drive its ascension to one of the most important companies in the world. Prior to Facebook, Chamath had leading roles...