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Mapbox raises $10M, could give Google Maps a run for the money

The company that focuses on making interactive and customizable maps using open-source data has big development plans.

Interactive Mapbox map showing energy use from New York City's buildings.
Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Ever wanted to see an interactive map that shows broadband coverage in the US? How about a map with all the best campsites along the Shenandoah River? Or a map that shows energy use from New York's buildings? No problem, these are all Mapbox's specialty.

The Washington and San Francisco-based startup focuses on creating interactive and customizable maps with big data -- similar to what can be done in Google Maps, but with a lot more pizazz.

Now, Mapbox could tread even deeper into Google territory. The company announced Wednesday that it raised $10 million in Series A funding from Foundry Group. While this is peanuts for Google, it's a whopping sum for Mapbox, which is used to working on a shoestring budget.

"And now we have real runway," Mapbox CEO Eric Gundersen wrote in a blog post. "For three years, we've been completely bootstrapped, which meant we had only a few months in the bank at any time. That changed: combined with a rapidly growing userbase, funding lets us plan for years of building the future of geo software, from the ground up."

One of the first things Mapbox will do is hire more people to its team. The goal for the company is to stay independent and continue to use data from the open-source community. Mapbox primarily uses data from OpenStreetMap.org, which comes from open sources, like satellites, rather than proprietary sources, like Google, Apple, or MapQuest.

Mapbox's growing client list already includes Uber, Foursquare, Evernote, Pew Research, NPR, USA Today, and more. Besides the Foundry Group funding, Mapbox also received funding from the Knight Foundation last year.