Depending on your age, getting from point A to point B can involve paper maps—what we call an “atlas,” that giant book that used to be in the back pocket of a car’s passenger seat.
As maps go digital, you might have relied on MapQuest to help you plot the fastest route to your destination. Ironically, Homebrew’s Hunter Walker tweeted Last week there are some people who remember printing the pages of MapQuest and “who have no idea what I’m talking about.”
You come to any of these camps, proxy Wants to give you all the experience when it comes to making the map for 2022. The Seattle-based startup is developing geospatial software that aims to enable users to create personalized navigation maps to take on the likes of Google Maps and Yelp.
The real battle of the generations are those who remember printing MapQuest directions before driving somewhere and a backseat full of discarded pages
And who don’t know what I’m talking about
— ️ (@hunterwalk) 10 February 2022
The idea for the company stemmed from Proxy co-founder Melinda Haughey’s crowd-sourced map for trick-or-treating that went viral in 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, Haughey, an engineer with a background in intelligence, wanted to find out where people had set off. Shoot the candy so that trick-or-treating can be done safely by her child in the neighborhood.
“I saw on my local Facebook group for parents that people were just listing their addresses, and looking at my background, I thought, ‘This is so dumb, no one will really be able to use this. ,” He said. “I wondered what I could do with these addresses, so I used a bunch of different tools to tie them together and published a form for people to add candy shoots to.”
What started in her small neighborhood went viral with 2,300 homes in the Seattle area. It was also featured on local news and “Good Morning America”.
However, going through that process, Haughey realized that the map-making process was “a nightmare” and “not accessible to everyday people,” she said.
When people started asking her for help making maps, she reached out to a college friend, Chelsea Rooney, a multi-time entrepreneur with a vision to make map-making super easy. work can be done.
Proxy is a free, no-code tool for creating custom, interactive maps that can be embedded into social media accounts, websites, and apps. Some of the company’s early users—including Seattle news station King 5, production company Traveling While Black In SeattleEvent coordinators, influencers and foodie bloggers – are replacing Listicles with maps of favorite hangouts, restaurants, and places to see and visit.
And, unlike other map services, users can put their own branding on maps and create custom icons, Haughey said.
“We’ve learned through experimentation that people are more likely to convert and actually go to places they can see where they are in a relationship,” he said. “Admins will soon be able to get an in-depth analytics dashboard where they can understand who is visiting the map, how much time they are spending there, which points were clicked and who were clicking directions and custom URLs. Used to be.”
To push those new features, Haughey and Ronnie raised $1.2 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed round led by Graham & Walker (the firm told me this was their first round), TechStars, with participation from the Madrona Pioneer Fund. Together, PACK VC, Tacoma Venture Fund, FAM Fund, KIG and a slew of angel investors.
Proxy launched in mid-2021, which is when it started to pick up the hard traction I mentioned earlier. After enrolling at Techstars, Haughey and Ronnie decided to seek additional capital to rapidly expand and run a marketing campaign.
They plan to use it in four ways: renting primes, increasing density in both Seattle and Austin, mapping out more people, and exploring the concept of a consumer app.
So far, about 500 maps have been created around the world. Interesting use cases are creating wedding routes and maps of the best playgrounds in town. In the focus areas of Seattle and Austin, Haughey and Rooney want to expand to 250 maps where people are actively sharing recommendations in their local area or regularly with travelers.
“One way that we’re going to be able to stand out and really create something that people care about is by being really close with the creators,” Haughey said. “We’re going to build features really thoughtfully and ethically and make sure we’re creating a great user experience for people.”