MapBox Inc. has big ambitions to rival Google Maps with an open-source solution. The company of about 35 staff may be small, but it has just raised $10 million in Series A funding from Foundry Group.
MapBox's main offering is a cloud-based mapping system that makes it easy for third parties to install maps into their products, ranging from web pages at news sites to much larger location-based services (Foursquare and Uber already both use MapBox). Its revenues are based on these installations, charged on a per "map view" basis with prices hovering at roughly 50 cents per 1,000 views.
The company's mapping data is collated from open sources like OpenStreetMap.org. Since this data is generated by thousands of continuous inputs from people around the world, MapBox argues its data is actually more reliable and more frequently updated than Google Maps. MapBox plans to use its new funding to hire about 35 more staff over the next two years. The vast majority of these people will be technical staff, who will help the company push aggressively into mobile mapping space—as adoption of smartphones, tablets, and wearables takes off.