MapMyIndia, a Delhi-based company that builds GIS & GPS based software has acquired Bangalore-based VIDTEQ—the company that built VideoMaps, a mapping software which allows users to view a video clip of a complete route between any source to any destination within a city. The size of the deal was not disclosed, while the company said that acquisition will allow it to develop Real View Digital Map Twin, a 360-degree mapping platform. VIDTEQ had raised an undisclosed Series A funding from KITVEN in 2011, a VC firm operated by a consortium of Karnataka state-owned corporations.
VIDTEQ was founded by Chandra Thimmannagari and Navada Muraleedhara in May of 2008. Its VideoMaps software is live in 20 cities across India and the technology is being used by builders, schools, resorts, businesses, etc. for construction and planning operations. Apart from this, VIDTEQ develops other mapping software with three-dimensional modeling, and products like Drone View, 360 Interior/Exterior View, among others. VIDTEQ also owns mapmyhome.com, a real estate listing portal for new project launches.
Issues with geospatial mapping in India
Note that in India, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a draft “Geospatial Information Regulation Bill” last year which sprang up a debate around how map data is collected by private companies. The bill looked at regulating collection of map-related info, creation of digital maps, and even sharing of map-related data. Although the bill yet to be passed, it could literally make it illegal for private companies and individuals to collect mapping data without a license, and also hinder services of companies like Ola, Uber, Google Maps etc. who depend mainly on map data.
Interestingly, MayMyIndia’s competitor WoNoBo which had raised close to $35 million investment, suspended its consumer-facing “street view” website a month after the geospatial bill was issued. Around the same time, Google’s 360-degree panoramic street view feature ran into trouble with government officials who hired security agencies to check whether Google’s Street View compromised India’s “security Interest”.
Google’s Street View feature also has a history of issues when it comes to India. Google ran into trouble with Bangalore Police in June 2013 as the Commissioner of Police asked Google to stop Street View cars from plying in Bangalore. In September 2013, Google relaunched Street View in India by focusing only on private properties like Sula Vineyards. At that time we had pointed out irregularities in how the government looked at mapping companies: Local firms like VIDTEQ were already being allowed to map out cities and publish videos of streets online, while Google was not.
MapMyIndia funding and partnerships
Flipkart had picked up a minority stake in MapmyIndia for an undisclosed amount in December 2015. Its earlier investors include Nexus Venture Partners and Lightbox Ventures which had previously made an exit back in May 2014. Founded in 1992, MapmyIndia currently employs over 750 people and claims to have invested more than Rs 200 crore for building various mapping technologies. It has partnerships with firms like Ola, AVIS car rental, Eicher, Tata etc. and with government departments like the ISRO for developing customized mapping software.