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London Tech Week

London-based Waymap lands £7M for its indoor navigation technology

Waymap funding
Picture credits: Waymap

In modern cities, navigation apps play a crucial role. However, they don’t work for everyone. These apps also face limitations due to GPS, rendering them ineffective indoors or underground. This presents a considerable challenge for individuals with heightened navigation requirements, especially the hundreds of millions of people living with visual impairments worldwide and disabilities. Higher accuracy in indoor and outdoor navigation also benefits everyone, drastically improving efficiency as commuters move around the built environment.  

Tackling this challenge is the London-based startup Waymap offering an accessibility-first, highly accurate navigation app that works outdoors, indoors, and even deep underground. 

Raises £7M funding 

In a recent development, the company secured £7 million in funding led by the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good. Also, Venrex and Comprador Holdings participated in the round. 

The fresh funding will enable Waymap to continue expanding internationally, growing the presence of mapped areas in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. It will complement Waymap’s current presence in North America and Europe. With the investment from the TELUS Pollinator Fund, the company also plans to continue investing in its ‘sensor-fusion based’ indoor localisation technology.  

Idea behind Waymap

Founded in 2017 by Dr. Tom Pey, Waymap was a response to the request for visually impaired young people at the Royal Society for Blind Children’s (RSBC) Youth Forum, seeking a solution to navigate the London Underground like everyone else. He embarked on the journey to create Waymap when he conducted extensive research into how visually impaired people in the UK were navigating daily life. 

The company’s mission, inspired by Tom’s firsthand experience, addresses the pressing issues in navigation among these people. It helps foster greater accessibility, independent mobility, and more efficient travel for everyone.  

Accurate indoor localisation 

Waymap’s technology uses nothing but the gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, and compass built into smartphones to locate users with up to 1 metre accuracy. With artificial intelligence, visual positioning, and 5G edge computing, there are new avenues for greater localisation accuracy. 

Independent of GPS, Wi-Fi, or mobile data, its accurate and reliable step-by-step navigation relies solely on a revolutionary algorithm, SmartStep. This tech uses only the motion sensors on a smartphone and the user’s steps. Waymap will make navigation and smart cities truly inclusive. Initially designed to enhance the lives of blind users, its utility extends to all. 

With an accuracy of up to 1 metre, its technology surpasses others, facilitating navigation around transit networks and busy shopping centres, adapting to users’ habits. Additionally, the location technology offers broader applications. 

“We’re pleased to celebrate our first investment in the UK by leading a financial round in Waymap which underscores the strength and growth potential of the purpose-driven startup’s product and its strong leadership that works tirelessly to help visually impaired people safely navigate their daily life,” said Blair Miller, Managing Partner, TELUS Pollinator Fund. “By investing in Waymap, we can help them in their mission to foster  greater accessibility, independent mobility, and more efficient travel for everyone.”  

CEO and Founder Dr. Tom Pey, who is also blind, comments, “Waymap has set itself the goal of revolutionising how everyone accesses the world. It is a global undertaking and one that requires investors, like TELUS, that not only share our vision and values but have the strength of expertise and know-how to make this achievable. At a time of reduced inward venture capital investment in the UK, we are so proud that we have bucked the trend. This is, in no small way, down to the strength of our team, who are totally dedicated to making our towns and cities accessible for everyone.”  

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