Map Project - the right to an address
“Behind the gas station, up the hill, by the third tree on the right-hand side” – this is how directions can look to a place without an adequate address, which today affects around half of the world’s population. Apart from he fact that finding your way can be excessively tricky, people without an address lack access to important civic functions, like starting a bank account, ordering items online, or guiding an ambulance in an emergency situation. This is something Map Project Sweden wants to solve.
Karoline Beronius, KTH employee and one of the founders of Map Project, has felt this problem could be solved somehow since 2008, when she was working in Uganda. But back then the technology wasn’t ready.
- The solution can’t be too expensive, and the technology has to be simple enough to be used by anyone, anywhere. Back then, this just wasn’t possible, but a few years ago I started to feel that technology was catching up and that a solution was within reach.
This was the start of Map Project, which will shortly offer people what they see as a civil right – the possibility of getting your own address. They have developed an app where a combination of GPS data, existing address information, ad traditional directions make it possible for to generate an address even in the hardest to reach places.
Map Project has been part of the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program, where 10 cases together get extra support during the course of one year.
- The support we’ve gotten from KTH innovation has been invaluable says Maria Cheadle, another one of the project’s founders. When you’re working in a startup, everything is new and unsure, and you hit a lot of obstacles on the way. In the preincubator, you can get help from your business coach but also from the other cases in the program. Someone has always run into the same problem as you!
Map Project didn’t just get business coaching, but also secured funding through KTH Innovation to conduct a pre-study. Now they know what their potential customers want and need, and their service is both in high demand, and needed! Ahead of a meeting in the capital of Uganda, Kampala, the team got to experience first-hand how hard it can be to find your way, when the office they were visiting had no less than three different addresses posted online.
- We were within 300 meters from our destination the entire time, but we drove around for an hour without finding it.
The response from people the team has met on the field has been overwhelmingly positive, and within a few weeks they’re launching the first version of the app in Uganda. But working in a startup isn’t always easy. It can be incredibly time consuming, doesn’t exactly pay well, and the way forward is almost never straightforward. That’s why asking for help at the start is so important, says Karoline Beronius:
- When we ran into a problem, we didn’t have to spend three weeks researching the solution, but could ask our coach and quickly move on. It’s also been great to have access to office space. It’s made it possible for us to focus our work and it’s brought the team closer together.
Are you interested in following Map Project’s path? The application period for Batch 7 of the pre-incubator program is now open, and Batch Leader Gustav Notander is excited:
- It will be great getting to know the new cases. The preincubator is an exciting environment, where everyone is passionate about developing their idea. It gives you energy!
He recommends everyone who has a business idea that can eventually lead to starting a company to apply, especially if you’re ready to go for it:
- If you’re ready to hit the gas in 12 months, the preincubator is perfect for you!
The application period to Batch 7 is open until February 28th, 2018. Read more about the pre-incubator program , or go straight to the application here .