Carmera is the latest tech startup to open a Seattle-area office.
The Brooklyn, NY-based company recently expanded operations to the Pacific Northwest, where it has five of its 15 total employees working out of the University of Washington’s CoMotion Labs space. A third of the company’s executive team is now based at the Seattle office.
Founded in 2015, Carmera develops real-time, street-level 3D maps and navigation-critical data for autonomous vehicles. It operates and owns a “professionally crowdsourced vehicular sensor network” to help create the maps, which provide centimeter-level descriptions of a given environment. The technology also has application for construction, architecture, and real estate-related projects.
“CARMERA’s mission is to automate cities by maintaining the world’s most robust real-time, street-level intelligence platform, accessible to anyone,” reads the company’s about page.
Carmera raised a $6.4 million funding round in June from Matrix Partners, Resolute Ventures, Notation Capital, Joe Montana, Bre Pettis, Semil Shah, and others. The company expanded to Seattle partly because the city’s talent pool; Carmera CEO Ro Gupta told Technical.ly this summer that he’s hired former Amazon employees. It also liked Washington’s approach to autonomous vehicle development.
Gupta was previously head of business development for Disqus; his co-founder Justin Day was the CTO at Makerbot.
There are more than 20 Washington-based companies that are developing technology with possible uses in autonomous vehicles. Bellevue, Wash.-based startup Echodyne, for example, is building advanced radar systems that could be used in AVs and drones. Seattle-based Mighty AI is working with top OEMs, suppliers, and startups, to deliver training data for advanced driver assistance systems.
There’s also Google, which employs thousands in the region and has begun testing some of its automated vehicles around its office in Kirkland, Wash.
Ethan Sorrelgreen, chief product officer at Carmera, told GeekWire that his company liked the mapping technology talent available in Seattle.
“Other than the Bay Area, no city in the U.S. has as many top-notch software engineers with a background in maps due to the presence of Microsoft (first MapPoint, then Bing Maps), Google (Maps teams located in their Fremont office), Amazon (for the Fire Phone and Logistics), Tableau, Inrix and many startups/smaller companies in the mapping space (such as Glympse),” he wrote in an email.
Carmera is one of more than 100 out-of-town tech companies with engineering centers in the Seattle area that are tapping into the region’s software development talent.