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2015’s favourite London startup what3words raises $3.5m

One of 2015’s most decorated London startups what3words has raised a $3.5m Series A round led by Silicon Valley’s Intel Capital and joined by Hong Kong’s Horizons Ventures, plus a number of its previous angel investors.

The company was founded back in 2013 with the mission of giving the whole world a postcode by assigning 3m x 3m squares with a three-word ‘address’.

what3words bagged a $500,000 seed found late that same year from angels including Shutl’s Guy Westlake, plus another $1m in early 2014.

Perfectly designed for people on the move, or the billions of people who have little or no standard way to describe where they live, at the recent Techfugees hackathon for refugees, Giles Rhys Jones, marketing director, said: “We want to become the global standard for talking about location, where word.word.word is the recognised standard for address.”

“Three words are just long enough to write down and tell someone if you need to.”

Its API is just two lines of code, enabling people to locate themselves offline and using voice control wherever they are, and the platform is so far being used in more than 170 countries by logistics firms, navigation apps, travel guides and NGOs.

The company has removed homophones from its system, Rhys Jones explained last month, words that sound the same but mean something different or are spelled differently, in order to avoid any confusion.

And they also distribute similar combinations of words across different parts of the world: ‘table chair lamps’ is in the US, while ‘table chair lamp’ is in Australia.

The service has so far been translated into nine languages, having just added Arabic, with 14 more on the way.

Earlier this year what3words was awarded a Sobrato Organization Economic Development Award at Silicon Valley’s Tech Awards and won the Grand Prix for Innovation at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

It is also a Tech City News Elevator Pitch Series 5 winner for 2015.