EveryScape, a startup that has created 3D photorealistic streetscapes for 20 cities, has secured $6 million in third-round venture funding led by SK Telecom Americas, a division of South Korean mobile giant SK Telecom. Joining in the round were existing backers Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Dace Ventures.
The investment underscores investor enthusiasm around local mobile search and augmented reality technology as more and more consumers adopt sophisticated handsets and access mobile data services. EveryScape's solution is similar to Google Street View, down to pairing the virtual street tours with Google Maps.
But the image quality of EveryScape's "Real World Online" service is generally sharper and allows businesses to pay to create interior 3D tours and run pop-up listings in the street view mode. The aim is to drive in-store sales from nearby mobile users or online users at home.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company has created photoscapes for U.S. and international cities including Washington, D.C., Miami, New York, Denver, Boston and Beijing. With the new financing from SK Telecom, bringing its total raised to about $13 million, the company plans further expansion into the Asian market.
"The investment from SK Telecom Americas is validation of our approach, as well as fuel and guidance as we develop our Asian market strategy," said EveryScape CEO Jim Schoonmaker in a statement. "We look forward to working together to extend the Real World Online across the Pacific."
With South Korea frequently cited as one of the world's most advanced wireless markets., the fact that SK Telecom chose to invest in and partner with a small U.S.-based technology company does speak well of EveryScape. Given the parallel with Google Street View and Google's mobile ambitions, it's not hard to imagine the search giant snapping up EveryScape at some point. Or a Google competitor like Microsoft doing the same.