Toronto startup InnerSpace delivers GPS for the indoors

InnerSpace has created the first scalable technology that delivers “GPS for the indoors.” The company’s technology instantly delivers 3D maps, positioning data, and the critical insights needed to maximize every square foot. The networked sensors and wayfinding technology digitize physical spaces to deliver never-before-seen experiences for commercial real estate, retail, healthcare, and warehousing industries.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
InnerSpace was founded by James Wu, Jason Gamblen, and Matt MacGillivray who worked together at eReading giant Kobo and played instrumental role in the company’s $315-million sale to Rakuten. Together, the team has been a part of 5 successful start-ups and now bring their product, UX, design, dev and digital expertise to solve a problem that represents a $250-billion opportunity.

How are you being financed?
The company has been bootstrapped for the last two years with the support of family friends. Now, we are closing in on our Seed Round which will help us produce the InnerSpace sensors and increase our customer pipeline. We recently announced an investment from venture fund 500 Startups and joining their accelerator which has helped us to catapult our sales.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
Delivering indoor maps and positioning is a massive problem, but with massive market potential. There are hundreds of companies trying to deliver indoor experiences – like wayfinding apps in shopping malls, or equipment tracking in warehouses – but all of them struggle to get the mapping data they need to deliver great/cost-effective/timely experiences for their customers.

Our biggest opportunity and challenge will be to serve both the companies who want to deploy InnerSpace internally as well as the emerging tech companies who are developing apps based on the data. We are taking a huge bite out of this problem, and are ready to meet the challenge – scaling effectively will be where we’re focused for the next phase of our growth.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
Toronto has always had access to great talent – especially with such strong ties to the Waterloo community. A few years ago, we were losing a lot of this talent to the Valley, but now we’re seeing the reverse – talent is staying here and US developers are seeking out Toronto start-ups. We have an excellent roster of VCs, founders, and incubators here to support the community and foster the development of talent here.

Who is your biggest competition?
We believe our biggest competitors are going to become our best partners. These are the companies that are creating maps by hand, who are taking months to create maps and insights, and whose data is out of date if any changes are made to the physical space. Typically, these companies really want to deliver cool apps and digital experiences, but they can’t scale because of the manual approach to creating maps. That’s where we come in – we help them scale. We let them focus on what they really want to be doing. We help them grow their business quickly. This is the true potential of InnerSpace.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
InnerSpace is a location-as-a-service platform, which means customers subscribe to our platform for pennies on the square foot. When you consider that our technology can help companies discover new revenue streams, save operational costs, and increase sales, our business model makes it easy to understand the ROI. We will serve commercial real estate, retail, healthcare, and warehousing. As an exaple, one of our big box retail clients plans to increase sales by $2-million per store simply by helping customers find items on their shopping lists. Our fee will be approximately $10,000/store (just 0.5%!) and there are more than 400 stores in North America.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
The most transformative realization so far is that we didn’t just want to create a better technology for the industry. Plenty of technologies have been created in the past – but customers found them difficult to use, they took too long to implement, they didn’t scale. Simply, customers found them cumbersome.

While we are incredibly proud of our technology, it is our approach to solving our customers’ problems that is where the true value of InnerSpace lies. Our customers want an instant, turn-key solution that solves the hard technical problems of mapping and location. They need a clear path to create new revenue streams and the data to better their business today. We view each customer interaction a success when they stop thinking about the techology and start envisioning how our platform solves their business problems.

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