Featured Startup Pitch: MapJam – Beautiful personalized map sharing
MapJam is a web and mobile platform that makes it easy to create, embed and share beautiful and personalized digital maps. Without the need for programming or graphic design skills, MapJam users can create fully branded, detail-rich online maps that can be shared easily through email, text, social media and popular online platforms.
The platform’s user interface uses drag-drop, point and click features to create, customize, colorize and personalize maps with additional content and context. Once created, maps can be embedded and shared easily with others; hosted online, they can be updated in real time. A mobile app and enterprise offering are in the works for 2016.
MapJam bills itself as a user-friendly, content-rich alternative to commonly used Google Maps, as well as an ideal platform for users who want to create contextually rich and inviting maps without the need for large budgets or technical skills/knowledge.
Since its late 2012 launch, MapJam has been developing its own vector tile base maps with data from OpenStreetMap. In mid-2015, MapJam was selected for 500 StartUps Batch 14 in San Francisco.
MapJam does for digital map creation what services like Wix and Squarespace have done for website creation and blog publishing. An easy-to-use interface with point, click and drag-drop features makes it easy to customize, brand, personalize and embellish online maps with far more detail than conventional and default mapping platforms offer.
MapJam creators can add colorful location markers to maps to highlight services, amenities, landmarks, businesses, and unique features. Content cards can be added to host description, URLs, images, video links, sound clips, logos and branding. Thousands of data points/services (parks, hospitals, government services, churches, transportation, etc.) can be added at the click of a button. Shaded layers can be added, and all map content can be updated and shared in real time across commonly used online and social media platforms (e.g., text, email, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, QR code) and app stores (Eventbrite, Weebly, WordPress, etc.).
DIFFERENTIATORS VS. THE COMPETITION
MapJam enables map creators to fully ‘own’ the content featured on their maps, and it supports the creation of detailed, contextual, information-packed and colorful maps that go far beyond the offerings from commonly used static map platforms like Google. The key differentiator is that MapJam empowers creators to own and manage content, not cede it to Google or another map platform.
Visitors to MapJam maps encounter only what the map creator adds to the map; they do not encounter third-party consumer reviews, nearby competitors or info about nearby similar businesses – key pieces of content that often undermine the so-called ‘location marketing funnel’ and draw visitors away or make them think twice. Aided by a fully branded, fully ‘owned’ MapJam map, retailers, businesses, event planners and map creator ‘own’ their content, brand, message and image.
MapJam maps are fully customizable. MapJam maps can be branded with different color schemes, content cards, videos, imagery, sound links and locational markers that can identify nearby features, amenities, services and landmarks.
MapJam is also a viable alternative to more sophisticated mapping platforms (e.g., Mapbox, Esri) that, while also different from Google, require a basic (if not advanced) level of knowledge of geolocation, programming code and graphic design.
MapJam’s founders – former geography teacher and tech specialist Jack Gonzalez, and veteran ‘datapreneur’ Scollay Petry – bring to their startup a love of maps, mapping technology and geography. They met, in fact, in a geography class in Australia when Petry attended Gonzalez’ high school as an American exchange student. More than 20 years later, both reconnected over their passion for travel, and a mapping app created by Petry for a travel blog they launched eventually attracted more attention than the blog, so he and Gonzalez – still fueled by their love of geography and mapping — abandoned the blog and pursued MapJam.com as a startup venture. Seed money raised in the U.S. and Australia in 2012 launched the MapJam platform. The company was chosen to participate as a 500 StartUps Batch 14 company in 2015.
HEADQUARTERS: San Francisco
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012