NextBillion.ai, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, helps enterprises adopt an AI-first approach to highly complex location problems. It offers map data management services, location tools, and APIs to enterprises in the logistics, automotive, transport, last-mile delivery, telematics, food delivery, and ride-hailing/ridesharing sectors.
Gaurav Bubna and his two co-founders, Ajay Bulusu, and Shaolin Zheng, were early team members at Grab, a Singapore-based technology company which provides users with transportation, food delivery and digital payments services via a mobile app. Bubna was the head of a product team that was responsible for developing custom mapping solutions for food delivery and ride-hailing drivers navigating congested streets in SouthEast Asia. “We experienced first-hand how critical mapping is for areas such as groceries and ecommerce and logistics,” says Bubna, “so we decided to create a platform that could help many other businesses, not just Grab.”
The two-and-a-half-year-old company, which is headquartered in Singapore and operates globally, has raised $34 million in venture capital. In September it inked a deal with Deutsche Bahn Subsidiary ioki, a European smart mobility solution provider.
With NextBillion.ai’s tool and the APIs, ioki says it plans to complement and expand its existing mapping and routing offering to meet hyper-local routing and navigation challenges in different European cities, such as time-based restrictions, no-drive days, event-based restrictions, vehicle-specific restrictions, road closures, limited access, and diversions.
The ioki deal is an example of how Nextb=Billion.ai can customize its platform, says Bubna. “We are a decentralized map platform,” he says. “We don’t own any mapping data ourselves. What our machine learning allows us to do is to package data from third parties and our customers and uniquely tailor solutions to meet their needs.”
Food delivery businesses, mobility companies, trucking companies and logistics companies all have different needs and NextBillion.ai’s platform can handle all of them, says Bubna. He says NextBillion.ai is “easier to customize and cheaper and faster” than competitors such as Google Maps and Mapbox, an American startup that provides mapping and location-search technology to a variety of companies including messaging-app developer Snap and General Electric.
NextBillion.ai is one of 100 early- to growth-stage companies from around the world named by the World Economic Forum as Technology Pioneers of 2022. Nominations for the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Technology Pioneer Cohort are now open. The program recognizes startups that are involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies and innovations and are poised to have a significant impact on business and society. Once selected, Technology Pioneers are given an opportunity to engage with the Forum for two years, actively working with the Forum’s public and private sector partners on one of the Forum’s 16 content platforms.
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