Friday, April 19, 2024
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Wherobots is building a data platform to treat spatial data as a ‘first-class citizen’

Many companies collect an enormous amount of geospatial and time data, but they’re unable to unlock enormous value from that information due to a lack of an easy-to-use, dedicated geospatial database platform.

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Wherobots aims to change that with its spatial compute and AI engine, which allows users to develop geospatial analytics applications and deploy them with major cloud data services. The startup’s solution has caught the attention of investors, with the company announcing today that it closed a $5.5 million seed round co-led by Wing Venture Capital and Clear Ventures.

The startup was founded by Mo Sarwat and Jia Yu, a pair of tenure-track academics in computer science at Arizona State University and Washington State University, respectively. In 2015, the pair launched Apache Sedona, a widely used open-source developer tool for geospatial applications. That software has been downloaded millions of times, Sarwat said in a recent interview, leading the pair to realize “there was a huge market need” for an enterprise-focused product.

The two incorporated Wherebots in June 2022 in order to build upon the foundation laid by Apache Sedona. The new product uses the same API as Apache Sedona, while also providing faster spatial processing, a spatial data usage dashboard and other features.

Many existing data platforms advertise themselves as generic platforms, Sarwat explained. But that means they offer minimal functionality for users working with space and time data. Other services, like the Google Earth Engine, provide some more capabilities but lock users into their platforms. Companies with enough capital, manpower and time – think Uber or Planet – have opted to develop their own proprietary solutions, but that isn’t accessible to every company.

Sarwat says the Wherobots platform solves all of these issues, at a rate that is more scalable and provides better resource utilization compared even to Apache Sedona.

“What Wherobots provides is a fully managed, fully provisioned, scalable, robust cloud data platform for spatial analytics and AI,” he said. “It’s going to scale as you go. It’s going to be way faster, way more efficient [and] way more cloud efficient.”

The company is still in the “building phase,” as Sarwat put it, and the new capital will go toward engineering an enterprise-ready platform that people are willing to pay money for. The company’s mainly looking to build out its team, which currently stands at seven full-time, plus three interns, and to increase product adoption over time.

To that end, the company’s released an MVP for beta testing, which people can sign up for here. Sarwat said the platform could be used across industries, including insurance, fleet management and automotive, agriculture, and real estate.

“Sedona is just the start,” Sarwat said. “Our ultimate goal is for Wherobots to be the data platform for space and time.”

Wherobots is building a data platform to treat spatial data as a ‘first-class citizen’ by Aria Alamalhodaei originally published on TechCrunch

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