Indoor navigation was something we heard about a lot after the launch of the iPhone and during that first wave of location-based apps. But the technology has quietly evolved over the last few years and may now be more important than ever. Oriient, which powers the platform that Instacart shoppers use to gather their orders in hundreds of stores in North America, this week announced that it has raised an $11 million Series A round, which brings its total funding to $16 million. OurCrowd, Regal Four (a Beren family venture entity), F2 Venture Capital, NGN Partners and Future Energy Ventures participated in this new round.
The idea behind Oriient, which currently has 35 employees, is to offer an indoor positioning platform that can work without any dedicated hardware, beacons or Wi-Fi to locate you inside an airport, office, store or anywhere else without access to a GPS signal. Instead, the company says, it uses “the Earth’s magnetic field, smartphone readings and AI.” Using the compass and other sensors inside a phone and every building’s unique way of distorting the Earth’s magnetic field, it can then find your position inside that building. To enable this, somebody has to first map the building, of course, but the company says all it takes is an ordinary smartphone to do so. After that, the data is uploaded to Oriient’s servers and analyzed using its proprietary algorithms to create a map.
“When we set out to build Oriient, our vision was to create the world’s first truly software-only indoor location solution. We knew it had to be accurate, cost-effective and scalable, and that we couldn’t compromise on those things,” says Mickey Balter, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “Thanks to previous funding, we were able to deliver on this promise and commercialize the technology. After achieving technological breakthroughs in 2021, we’ve seen great momentum in terms of adoption. This new round of funds will help us ride that momentum to the next level: illuminating all commercial buildings in the world with the visibility and data-driven insights of the digital world.”
On top of its partnership with Instacart, Oriient also recently partnered with Google Cloud, making its SDK available on Google Cloud’s Marketplace.
The company expects to use the new funding to scale its coverage to “tens of thousands” of locations, open new verticals and expand its global sales team. Currently, the company’s focus is mostly on individual retail brands and malls, but there are obviously plenty of other use cases for this technology that go beyond retail.