what3words raises $1m to map the world with language

Mapping service what3words has raised $1 million in seed funding.

It coincides with what3words’ new native mobile apps and a Pebble smartwatch app – enabling precise location sharing at the touch of a button.

The map store

The free service grids the world into 3x3m squares and gives each square a unique address of just three words from the dictionary.

You can then easily describe exactly where you want to meet someone – by telling them the three-word ‘code’ for the square of your choice.


The money maker

w3w3The business model stems from the additional option of purchasing personalised ‘OneWords’.

For £1.49, consumers and businesses can describe any 3x3m square on Earth with a name of their choice.

Rather like buying a domain name and pointing it to a server, once you’ve bought a OneWord name no-one else can buy it – and you can move the square it refers to at any time.

Moving quickly

The funding, from anonymous private investors, will be used to expand what3words’ sales team, enable voice-recognition features within the service, and increase the number of languages available.

It follows a $500,000 round in November from angel investors, including Shutl’s Guy Westlake, bringing the company’s total funding up to $1.5 million.