We sat down with Hongwei Liu, CEO of Mappedin to discuss how the company got started, the problem its trying to solve, Mappedin’s biggest strength, how to maintain a good company culture, and most excitingly, what the future might hold.
In 2010, I was a student at The University of Waterloo and moved into the VeloCity residence. There we were encouraged to build a project on the side — not a business, just something cool to show to our friends. That project was Mappedin: helping students find classes and rooms on campus.
It was more than a year later when we signed our first customer that the side project became full-time!
“One Map Everywhere”. A digital copy of every physical building, created and maintained using our web-based tools. That living map then enables all sorts of new applications like digital wayfinding, room booking, logistics, security monitoring, and space optimization.
Indoor mapping is a new category and we’ve been building it all these years from the ground up. Recently I’ve been interviewing for an experienced industry veteran to scale up a new initiative. I’ve had some great conversations, but it also made me realize that we are the veterans! Our knowledge of customers and their workflows, the trends coming up in our industry, intuitions about map editing UX, and technical know-how are things we take for granted.
I also couldn’t be more proud of how we have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and how we’ve each grown through that experience. Every week, new problems and opportunities arise and there is someone ready and able to jump on it.
I work with people who are great at what they do and comfortable navigating the unknown. It’s a great privilege and also keeps me challenged and excited to come to work everyday.
Our customers. Chances are that the last mall you went to, anywhere in the Anglosphere, is our customer. Now a growing number of airports, hospitals, stadiums, and Fortune 500 sponsors on the sides of those stadium fields are our customers as well.
Every month, Mappedin helps millions of people around the world find stores, gates, seats, coworkers, empty desks, and other points of interest. Our tools are used by thousands of users (including office managers, marketing coordinators, facility managers, leasing reps, and fire prevention officers) to maintain a single source of truth — one map everywhere.
It's all very exciting.
Hiring the right people. It’s often said that the first 10 people set the company culture. I think that’s true. But a great culture can also be undone by hiring. Living our values (playing for the team, being honest and accountable, learning fast, and focusing on the customer) means holding each other to account.
When we originally built mapping tools, it was for ourselves. We didn’t like having to constantly update maps sent from customers as scribbled-on PDFs, and there were no purpose-built digital tools for the job.
Now as new PropTech, IoT, and Digital Twin companies and applications are scaling up around the world, we are seeing so many new applications for our tools and partners who are looking for ways to enable self-serve indoor mapping in their solutions.
Malls, offices, airports and stadiums that we already work with are less than 1% of all buildings in every city. Mappedin is just getting started.
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