Everyone is pretty familiar with the advanced mapping features battle between Google and Bing. Less well known are “tier two” players such as EveryScape and MapJack. MapQuest has also added street-level imagery (provided by Immersive Media).
Yesterday morning EveryScape announced a series C round of $6 million:
EveryScape, Inc., creator of “The Real World Online,” has secured $6 million Series C financing in a strategic round led by SK Telecom Americas, a division of SK Telecom, South Korean leading mobile operator with over 50% market share. Existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Dace Ventures also participated. This new financing will fuel EveryScape’s Asian market strategy, as well as propel the company’s steady growth in the U.S.
EveryScape isn’t really a destination, although it has flirted with that ambition from time to time, it’s a platform. The company has made money historically by selling interior imagery and “tours” (e.g., hotels). The exterior photography of course is “free.” Here’s an example of one of EveryScape’s interior “WebScapes”:
In Europe this type of interior photography is further along; European Directories for example said it has been rolled out to varying degrees in its eight country footprint. Google is just starting to experiment with this as well, although businesses themselves could upload images for several years. And Bing’s “Map Apps” allow third party imagery (e.g., interior images) to be layered on top of a map.
I’m going to speak to EveryScape CEO Jim Schoonmaker about “where things are” but this comment caught my eye in the release:
“EveryScape couples an unmatched technology platform that turns 2D images into 3D experiences, with a sales strategy that has landed “feet on the street” in virtually every major city in the U.S. We see vast opportunities to transport this successful strategy abroad while continuing momentum domestically,” said Richard Chin, president of SK Telecom Americas.
Certainly there’s a strategic opportunity for a technology and a platform such as EveryScape to assist companies and local sales channels that don’t have the assets or technology to develop these advanced mapping capabilities. And yes there’s a global opportunity — and a mobile opportunity, hence the SK Telecom investment. But EveryScape will have extreme difficulty with the strategy that quote implies: selling local businesses interior photography of their stores. I’ve said that from the beginning.
Yes, hotels and restaurants (and franchies) will buy this. But they’re more likely to buy it as part of a larger package and/or if they know it’s going to show up in places that consumers go online (Google, Yelp, Citysearch, Superpages), which comes back to my skepticism regarding EveryScape as a consumer destination.
There’s also a very interesting augmented reality (and maybe local-mobile social gaming) opportunity for EveryScape.