Zephr – a leading developer of next-generation GPS technologies – recently announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Space Capital and First Spark Ventures as it launches a groundbreaking networked GPS solution to dramatically improve GPS accuracy and reliability, creating new economic opportunities for many current and emerging industries. The new funding round will support Zephr’s GTM strategy as the company ramps up for rapid growth over the next year.
Zephr’s goal is simple: the company aims to make GPS more accurate and consistent for everyone. And the company’s pioneering approach uses a computationally networked solution to enhance GPS accuracy for mobile devices significantly (not survey-grade GPS), achieving a remarkable average accuracy of sub-60cm for mobile phones – typically not seen with consumer GPS solutions.
Plus, Zephr will also increase accuracy in dense urban environments, where building bounce and blocked line-of-sight create challenges for GPS. Zephr critically delivers its GPS augmentation without needing hardware changes to the device. As a standalone SDK, Zephr’s solution is purely software-based, as opposed to traditional solutions, which require a new chipset or firmware. This allows billions of existing mobile devices to upgrade their GPS accuracy directly out of the box easily.
Despite growing demands, consumer GPS technology (used by mobile devices, wearables, etc.) hasn’t experienced a meaningful update since 2000, and it remains prone to errors, low accuracy, and reliability problems.
Zephr’s patent-pending technology solves these problems through a multi-receiver system by turning users’ mobile devices into base stations that generate ensemble error corrections to improve GPS accuracy significantly down to an average result of sub-60cm. And through interconnected GNSS (global navigation satellite system) measurements across multiple devices, Zephr’s networked GPS eliminates common errors and inaccuracies while also guaranteeing a highly stable and reliable signal that is at less risk of interference.
The company’s more precise and consistent GPS solution can significantly improve cost savings and revenue opportunities for various industries, including navigation, delivery/logistics, rideshare, auto insurance, agriculture, advertising, location-based apps, etc. Plus, it also enables new/emerging fields, such as autonomy (from vehicles to robotics and drone-based delivery systems), augmented reality, location-based gaming, and smart cities.
The company’s GPS technology has undergone extensive testing using simulation software by SRI International and exhaustive field testing with real smartphones under challenging conditions.
“GPS is an essential technology for so many services we now rely on, and yet it is plagued by inaccuracy. This poses many challenges for businesses and consumers, and it will hamper the growth of developing technologies like augmented reality and autonomy. Improved accuracy in GPS can translate into millions of dollars in economic benefit, but for us, it’s about more than just money. A more accurate GPS system can also improve daily routines and personal safety, from preventing navigational errors to creating safer collision avoidance systems in vehicles and enabling more advanced search-and-rescue efforts.”
— Sean Gorman, PhD, CEO of Zephr
“Next-gen GPS is critical for the global economy and it will power a new wave of technology applications in the coming years. Zephr’s approach is truly unique and it has the potential to become an integral technology in the next phase of GPS. We are excited to partner with them and we have high expectations for the company.”
— Chad Anderson, Founder and Managing Partner of Space Capital
“SRI’s investment and technical collaboration with Zephr is a natural extension of our deep experience in position, navigation, and timing (PNT) technologies. Zephr’s software-first solution enabled them to quickly iterate and troubleshoot during the test and evaluation phase of our work program. Their performance and time-to-market has exceeded our expectations.”
— Ryan Lewis, Partner at SRI Ventures