UNL closes $2M funding to build the Internet of Places

SINGAPORE — UNL, a smart addressing platform for navigation and location-based services, has raised $2M in early-stage funding to build the Internet of Places.

UNL gives anyone and anywhere a unique, smart address to power the hyper-location-based economy. “UNL is a whole new way to think about locations. It’s about economic impact and unlocking places to become the gravity points for location-based services. “– said Xander van der Heijden, CEO and founder of UNL. – “And it’s about economic inclusion – bringing 4 billion unaddressed people into the global digital economy.”

The investment comes from a mix of strategic backers co-led by HERE Technologies, global tech leader in mapping and location platform solutions and Elev8.vc, a Singapore-based early stage deep-tech VC fund.

Speaking about the partnership, Giovanni Lanfranchi, CTO and Senior Vice President, HERE Technologies: “We are delighted to be supporting UNL as a key strategic investor to help drive growth and foster it’s mission of economic inclusion through the power of location. We look forward to working together and leveraging our strong R&D capabilities in order to pioneer innovative potential.”

“UNL will enable hyper-local ‘phygital’ commerce experiences, as well as introduce the next billion people to the digital economy – a combination of future-tech and social impact that strongly resonates with us.” – said Aditya Mathur, Managing Director of Elev8.vc – “We are pleased to be backing UNL in building the next-gen architecture for location-based services.”

Other investors that joined the round include SGInnovate, one of Singapore’s first dedicated Deep Tech investors and the US-headquartered global venture capital fund SOSV and its program Mobile Only Accelerator (MOX).; and Amsterdam-based Venturerock – a digital venture capital platform and ecosystem of founders, backers and venture builders.

Hsien-Hui Tong, Head, Venture Investing, SGInnovate said, “Even today, billions of people lack a physical address, hampering their ability to access both essential services and reap the benefits of the digital economy. This issue exists not only in the developing markets, but also in rural communities found deep in large, sprawling countries. UNL is tackling this problem with their unique addressing solution, which can break the barrier between the physical and digital worlds, enhance connectivity and contribute to the growth of smart cities.”

“Most of the world doesn’t have an address or is poorly addressed,” said William Bao Bean General Partner of SOSV and Managing Director MOX, “UNL’s ability to bring accurate location to developing and emerging markets will enable services from delivery to micro-loans for the next 4 billion internet users.”

In its core, UNL is an infrastructural technology that divides the world into a 3D grid of micro-cells. To every cell, UNL assigns a unique, global location ID, similar to domain names, and adds a smart layer to make locations – anywhere – programmable and transactional.

“UNL is building the Internet of Places, where we bring a new dimension to real-life places through content, context and automation. Where locations become dynamic environments in which we experience, interact and consume. Everything, hyper-local and hyper-contextual.” – added van der Heijden.

The Internet of Places is a trusted network where real-life locations are coupled with their smart UNL digital doppelgangers to power next-generation hyper-local experiences, applications and micro-services on top of the UNL infrastructure. From sourcing, storing and administration of real-time contextual data, to automation and governance of location-based transactions, to machine-to-machine transactions.

The funding will help the company develop the Internet of Places core infrastructure as well as further expand operations into key markets globally, starting with Asia.

About UNL

UNL is a smart micro-location infrastructure and new-generation mapping technology startup building the Internet of Places – a digital 1:1 geodata twin of the physical world. Powering location-based services from e-commerce and last-mile delivery to smart city and autonomous solutions.


By digitizing physical locations and creating an infrastructure to interact with them, we solve some of the biggest hyperlocal challenges that traditional mapping hasn’t been able to do so far – starting with addressing, geocoding, dynamic routing, and self-healing maps.


Via the UNL Micro-location Platform, we provide businesses from all sizes – start-ups, SMEs to enterprises – with do-it-yourself mapping and location data services to manage their own Virtual Private Maps and build scalable hyperlocal solutions with location intelligence at various scales.


UNL is based in Singapore, with offices in New Delhi (India), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and Dubai (UAE).


For more information, visit www.unl.global.   

About HERE Technologies

HERE, a location data and technology platform, moves people, businesses and cities forward by harnessing the power of location. By leveraging our open platform, we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes – from helping a city manage its infrastructure or a business optimize its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely. To learn more about HERE, please visit www.here.com and 360.here.com.


About Elev8.vc

Elev8.vc is a Singapore-based early stage deep-tech VC fund. The fund invests in and supports promising early-stage enterprise companies and founders who develop incredible new technologies and have ambitious goals to redefine how business gets done. Elev8.vc’s key investment areas are in the fields of Urban Mobility, Medtech, AIoT, and Communications. As a high-conviction, high-support fund, the team at Elev8.vc looks to continue supporting the audacious founders that are leading the change in these enterprise sectors. Learn more: https://elev8.vc. 


About SGInnovate

At SGInnovate, we build and scale Deep Tech startups into high potential companies with global impact. We believe that hard global problems can be solved using Deep Tech, and Singapore, where we are based, is uniquely positioned to realise Deep Tech innovations that can tackle these challenges. Our Deep Tech Nexus Strategy is focused on adding tangible value to the Deep Tech startup ecosystem in two key areas – development of Human Capital and deployment of Investment Capital. With the support of our partners and co-investors, we back entrepreneurial scientists through equity-based investments, access to talent and business-building advice. Our efforts are prioritised around emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Tech, MedTech and Quantum Tech, which represent impactful and scalable answers to global challenges. SGInnovate is a private limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government. For more information, please visit www.sginnovate.com.


About SOSV

SOSV is a top-performing US-based venture capital firm with over US$700 million under management as of 2020. Recognized as the world’s 2nd most active seed investor in 2019 by Crunchbase, SOSV backs more than 150 startups annually through its global accelerators. SOSV operates HAX, the world’s first and most prolific hardware accelerator; Chinaccelerator, Asia’s first and only active accelerator with a unicorn graduating from its program (BitMEX Batch 8); MOX, the accelerator for mobile-first, mobile-only markets; IndieBio, the world’s largest seed accelerator for life sciences and biotech; dlab, a startup accelerator and venture studio for blockchain; and Food-X, the #1 food innovation accelerator in the world. Learn more: https://sosv.com/.


About Venturerock

Venturerock is a digital venture capital platform and ecosystem of founders, backers and venture builders. Venturerock has designed a new investment protocol – eliminating the middleman and delivering added value throughout the venture’s lifecycle. Learn more at https://venturerock.com.

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