Startup Of The Week: FATMAP
This week we introduce you to FATMAP, a startup, that provides skiers with the most incredible 3D maps available on mobile. Their Head of 3D, Paulius Liekis reveals how challenging and exciting can be this startup development.
- So what is FATMAP? How it works?
FATMAP is an adventure platform that provides mountain sports enthusiasts with 3D maps available on mobile and web. FATMAP has been build to help you plan adventures and navigate around the world’s great outdoor spaces. Ultimately, it exist to help you have better, safer experiences in the outdoors. FATMAP has mapped the whole world in beautiful, high-resolution detail and teamed up with local experts all over to provide selected guides for skiing, hiking, biking and mountain climbing. If you want to explore the outdoors, find adventures and share your stories, wherever you are, then FATMAP is for you.
- What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Paper maps 🙂 Any other outdoor navigation tools like: komoot, iPhiGeNie, etc. Any other high resolution maps like Google Maps.
There are three types of maps: inner-city, inter-city and outdoor. Most of navigation maps like Google Maps, Bing, HERE, etc are geared towards inner-city or inter-city navigation. FATMAP’s goal is to have the highest resolution outdoor data. There are other competitors which aim at the same target group – outdoor explorers, but FATMAP is the only one that is building our own map platform, specifically aimed at outdoor maps. Thus these competitors have to base their technology on other map platform which are dedicated for inner-city or inter-city navigation.
- What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
FATMAP was founded by two friends and kindred spirits in the search for mountain adventures. A unique combination of passion and experience in mapping, mountains and technology, fuelled by frustration with the tools available, led them to embark on a journey to re-imagine how technology could be used to enhance our adventures in the great outdoors.
- When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We launched our initial product 2 years ago, since then we grew it to over a 100 maps and this winter we’re launching our global platform, so even Liepkalnis will be available in FATMAP! 🙂
The biggest challenge was underestimation how hard it is to build your own map platform. We faced it 2 years ago. Now we’re facing it again by building the global platform.
We also had some fears that there will be a backlash from mountain-safety professionals in a sense that we’re inviting inexperienced people on a dangerous trips. This turned out to be false – they welcomed it, because extra information always helps to avoid danger.
Skiers, snowboarders, hikers, bikers, mountain climbers. Our initial proposition is aimed at more experienced mountain professionals, but in a long term we want to be a go-to destination for any mountain enthusiasts. In a long term you will be able to answer questions like “I want to go on a hike with kids, spend 4 hours and stop on a nice restaurant” using FATMAP.
- What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
Main challenge is sheer size and diversity of the technologies and product.
We’ve always had a fear that some competitor will pop up doing the same thing that we do. That hasn’t happened so far. What we realised over the years was that the product that we’re building is a very complex one. It requires: mountain sports, 3D graphics, server-side programming, mapping and design knowledge. If you don’t have one of such key persons – you can not build product like this. So yeah, building a strong team and making sure all the bases are covered is the answer.
- How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
We had a few funding rounds so far – we’ve raised over $3M. Yes, we seek extra funding. We’re looking into raising Series A in the near future.
- Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
Misha Gopaul (Co-Founder / CEO) Serial Entrepreneur | Mul ple Successful Exits | Team GB Ski Mountaineering | Swiss Mountain Guide Trainee | Techstars London
Dave Cowell (Co-Founder) Experienced Expedition Leader | Oxford & Cranfield Scholar MSc Environmental Technology | lastminute.com
Paulius Liekis (Head of 3D) 15 years of 3D Graphics Programming | Developer on the Core Unity 3D Engine | Multiple International Awards | Developed the High- Performance Risk Computing at Barclays Capital
Markus Ort (Head of Design) Former Design lead at HERE / Nokia Maps
William Gill (Head of Product) Former Head of Product at Rocket Interset SE | Head of Product at HERE
Ben Sales (Head of Platform Services) Co-Founder at Launchomatic | Senior developer at Twoism
Marcel Duee (Head of Operations) Co-Founder at Ubertweek | Managment roles at Nokia
Michael Halbherr Ph.D – Business & Technology Strategy | Former CEO of HERE | Member of Nokia Leadership Team
Offices: ● Berlin (~20) ● Vilnius (~7) ● Other remote (~5)
- How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
Business is good, although we have been limited by limited coverage. We expect to see steeped growth this year after launching global map.
- Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
Global map!!! 🙂 World domination! Maybe our own hardware products 🙂
Thank you for the answers!