Why Clear Invested in Wherobots: The Cloud Platform for Geospatial Data and AI

CLEAR Ventures
5 min readJun 13

--

By Vijay Reddy, Partner, and Christopher J. Rust, Founding Partner at Clear Ventures

Everything we do and everywhere we go on the internet today generates breadcrumbs of geospatial data. More than five billion people in the world use mobile devices to buy stuff, interact with friends, access healthcare and bank accounts, get directions, and much more. In fact, some 30 billion connected devices are generating upwards of 100 trillion spatiotemporal data records every year. The problem? About 97 percent of that data sits unused in enterprises, according to a study by Gartner. Wherobots, a Clear Ventures portfolio company, aims to change that situation.

Image source: Wherobots

From the Creators of Apache Sedona

Founded by Dr. Mo Sarwat and Jia Yu, the original creators of Apache Sedona, the company is democratizing the development and deployment of the geospatial data processing and analytics stack. The goal? The company wants to enable every organization to extract business value from data via spatial location and time.

Historically, geospatial data has been treated as a second-class citizen, forcing developers to use incumbent databases and infrastructure to make sense of this valuable data. According to Clear Ventures Partner Vijay Reddy,

“Users need fast time-to-value where they don’t have to worry about the hassle of cloud administration, workload scalability, and geospatial processing support/optimization. Wherobot’s AI-based, data analytics solution democratizes the development and deployment of geospatial data processing that could benefit use cases in industries such as logistics, location-based advertising technology, automotive, data-as-a-service, and more. It reinforces our investment thesis of investing in technologies that could have a big impact on modernizing infrastructure.”

Wherobots is developing a product that enables users to easily develop, test, and deploy in-situ geospatial data stack in the cloud or on-prem. Explains Co-founder Mo Sarwat,

“The issue is not just that data is big and available, but rather that enterprises can’t make sense of it without putting the data into context through geospatial location and time. This context allows an enterprise to ask the right questions and drive value from the data.”

Data: From the New Oil to New Currency of Business

A few years ago, the Economist Magazine declared that the world’s most valuable asset was no longer oil, but rather data. Years earlier British mathematician Clive Humby coined the “data is the new oil” phrase by saying that data, like oil, isn’t useful in its raw state. It must be refined, processed, and turned into something useful. Its value lies in its potential. Fast forward to today, and many believe that data is more valuable than oil. CIO.com makes the point that “data is the new currency of business.”

“All of this requires a data platform that treats space and time as a first-class citizen and can perform AI to drive greater insight and value for your enterprise,” explains Mo, who says they are developing a horizontal back-end technology that enables apps or use cases in a range of industries.

Huge Potential — Scale it for Big Data Applications

How big is the market potential? According to Geospatial World, the global geospatial market could reach $1.4 trillion in value by 2030.

According to Vijay, the adoption of Apache Sedona and the fact that the company was started by the original creators of Apache Sedona with a pull from enterprises made the investment in Wherobots highly attractive. Apache Sedona is a distributed spatial analytics platform that provides tools for working with massive amounts of geospatial data in a distributed computing environment — and has already received more than 12 million downloads.

With Apache Sedona, users can easily develop their geospatial data analytics pipeline and scale it to work with large volumes of geospatial data. As an example, it can be used in the automotive industry for applications including mapping and navigation, automotive safety and autonomous vehicles, and logistics and supply chain management.

According to Christopher J. Rust, Clear Ventures Founding Partner, “Our investment in Wherobots was thesis-driven and proactively sourced. The challenge of doing precision geospatial analytics on Internet-scale data sets is a huge unmet need and is directly relevant to our Intelligent Enterprise investment strategy. We were extremely impressed with the achievements of the Wherobots team. As the primary authors of the Apache Sedona project, they have distinguished themselves as global thought leaders in this area. We are grateful to Dr. Sarwat and Dr. Yu for the opportunity to join the Wherobots shareholder base.”

Says Mo, “The next wave of data companies will specialize in a specific aspect of data. At Wherobots, we’re a data company focused on geospatial location data. We are building the data infrastructure that’s going to enable the applications that will transform the world. And we do that by enabling organizations to drive value from data via spatial location and time.”

As hard-core technologists, Wherobots is bringing geospatial plus ‘X’ applications to the world.

Learn more about Wherobots, the data platform for geospatial analytics and AI.

The Wherobots Mission: Democratize the development and deployment of the geospatial data processing and analytics stack.

About Vijay Reddy

Vijay is a Partner at Clear Ventures, where he focuses on early-stage technology investments in AI + X, or AI applied to a specific industry or function. Prior to joining Clear Ventures, Vijay was a Partner at Intel Capital where he has been an early backer of leading AI and DeepTech companies including four unicorns and two IPOs that have raised more than $3.5 billion of capital and are currently valued at about $20 billion.

About Christopher J. Rust

As a founder and General Partner of Clear Ventures, Chris has more than 30 years of experience in management/business development, engineering, and operations and has been the lead investor in more than 35 companies. Prior to closing Clear Fund I in 2016, Chris spent 14 years as an early-stage technology investor at Sequoia Capital and USVP. He also spent 12 years in operating roles as a development engineer, network architect, and product manager.

Chris was a co-founder and Lead Architect of broadband access pioneer Roadrunner, now known as Time Warner Cable Internet. Roadrunner grew to 14 million subscribers, over $4 billion in 2015 revenue, and is the key driver of Charter Communication’s $56.7-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

He earned a B.S.E.E. with distinction as a Massachusetts Board of Regents Honor Scholar and an M.S.E.E from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and an M.S. Telecommunications Engineering and an M.E. Engineering Management from the University of Colorado, Boulder. While at the University of Lowell he was the recipient of the President’s Medal.

--

--

CLEAR Ventures

CLEAR is a venture capital firm that is purpose-built to help startup teams win in business technology and services.