What3words, a start-up that divided the world into 57 trillion squares of 3 by 3 meters and assigned three words to each, unveiled three new investors, all from the automotive world.
What3words announced Thursday that the venture arm of the largest Chinese auto group, SAIC Motor, the Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg and the audio systems and navigation company Alpine Electronics have invested in the London-based company. Existing investor Intel Capital also participated in the round.
The latest round of funding will be used to develop new markets and product developments.
The investment, which has not been revealed, illustrates the interest in the technology industry that simplifies the user experience in cars , can be easily used with voice commands and prepares companies at the age of autonomous vehicles. Because the addressing system gives a unique combination of three words to one location, it fixes a major flaw with a large number of voice-activated navigation systems: duplicate street names.
The company assigned to these 57 trillion squares a unique name of three words using an algorithm that has a vocabulary of 25,000 words. The system, which everyone can use via the what3words application, is available in more than a dozen languages. For example, if you want to meet a friend in a specific corner of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you can send the three-word address prices.slippery.traps. An Airbnb host can use a three-word address to direct a guest to a difficult entry. One day, bikers might be able to say or type a three-word address to direct a self-driving to drop them off at a specific entrance to a large sports arena.
"This fundraising is cementing the direction this company is taking," said Chris Sheldrick, CEO of what3words, at TechCrunch. "It's so that, in the future, we'll be telling cars, devices and voice assistants where we're going."
Earlier this year, what3words revealed that Daimler had taken a 10% stake in the company. The participation of Daimler and these recently revealed investors are all part of his C Series round of financing.
The company's new global addressing system has been integrated into Mercedes' new infotainment and navigation system, called the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX. The MBUX debuted on the new Mercedes A-Class, a sedan that went on sale outside the United States in the spring. A saloon variant of the Class A will arrive on the American market at the end of 2018.
TomTom also announced plans last month to incorporate what3words into its mapping and navigation products in the second half of this year. TomTom supplies its car navigation and traffic technology to automakers, including Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Citroën and Peugeot.
The company is in talks with other automakers and suppliers to incorporate what3words into vehicle infotainment systems.