The road that led to Nextbillion.ai's mapping solution of the future

How these former Grab senior management created an all-in-one mapping solution.

Have you ever been lost and had to rely on a navigation app to get where you wanted? Have you experienced that same app giving you directions to a completely different destination? Or food delivery arriving late because the driver was lost.

All these problems are caused by the underlying mapping technology used.

This was what NextBillion.ai, a SaaS mapping platform established in the early 2020s wanted to solve.

NextBillion.ai was founded by Gaurav Bubna, Shaolin Zheng, and Ajay Bulusu who were part of the senior management team at Grab.

Talking with Singapore Business Review, founder Ajay Bulusu said that the idea behind starting Nextbillion.ai came when they realised that one map doesn’t fit all and the future of location is decentralization.

“We all have experienced our food delivered late or cold, ride-hailing giving us the wrong ETA or parcel getting delivered to the wrong address. These problems arise from underlying mapping technology. For instance, can a mapping or language processing solution for Jakarta hold good in the Netherlands or Mumbai? Can an on-demand delivery mapping solution work for the freight industry? The answer is no and enterprises struggle with solving these issues as mapping technology is complex,” Ajay said.

According to him, NextBillion.ai is the first mapping solution to truly solve this. NextbillionAI provides Enterprise-grade, fully managed map data and APIs. Their product addresses the hyper-local nuances and provides tailor-made solutions for specific business needs, based on their data and geography. NextbillionAI solution helps to find the best ETAs, find precise pick and drop locations and the best route for the vehicle type enterprises are using.

Nextbillion.ai have two key offerings: its Map Data management as a Service and maps APIs.

“Both of these, we are usually able to offer upto 50% better accuracy, 3x lower latency, 10x higher throughput than state of the art alternatives, at a fraction of the cost. These products are already out in the market, and we will continue to make investments on these. The goal is to make this as seamless as possible for our customers,” Ajay added.

In their last funding round, NextBillion.ai raised $9.29m (US$7m) from Lightspeed India Partners and Falcon Edge Capital, as well as top angel investors including past and present executives from companies like Facebook, Twilio, Freshworks, as well as founders of top open source projects like Apache Cassandra, Apache Hive.

Ajay said that they are building the first true enterprise mapping platform for enterprise and they hope to enable the first enterprise grade, fully managed mapping platform for enterprises. Right now they are making a lot of deep tech investments across AI, machine learning and computer vision and they expect to drive a lot of new technology innovation in the mapping industry as well as file lots of patents for these technologies.

“We believe the mapping industry has a need for something like Linux for Maps, and we hope to enable that. We are building the first true enterprise grade, fully managed mapping platform, and with maps and location becoming increasingly important for every application, we think we are sitting on the cusp of a massive change in the industry.,” Ajay said.

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