The concept of the mirror world has been gaining traction. The idea is that the real world can be replicated in a digital form. That virtual world can then be annotated with comments or advertising for virtual tourists.
Google got there first with Streetview, but EveryScape is chasing it and has raised a new round of venture capital. Both are allowing users to visit places they’ve never seen and to get a good idea of what it is to walk down a street in a distant place.
One big difference is that EveryScape captures pictures of the real world by stitching together normal camera pictures, while Google sends trucks with special spherical cameras that capture 3-D views. With its approach EveryScape can show both outside and inside buildings, and it can also use photos from its own users.
The company got good publicity when Intel CEO Paul Otellini demoed the site in his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Waltham, Mass.,-based EveryScape has created a web-based viewer that shows you photo-realistic images of real-world scenery and allows users to zoom through the images, resulting in an experience where it feels like you’re moving through a 3-D world. It showed the site off last year and has now added new locations.
You can walk down city streets and explore the interiors of local buildings, landmarks and businesses — and then leave an annotation. The locations are digital replicas of real sites. You can check out the inside of Fenway Park in Boston, walk on the Great Wall of China, ski down a slope at Aspen, or click on tabs that show you night life or hotels. EveryScape debuted in October and now has more than 10 destinations available.
Today, the company is announcing it has raised $7 million in Series B venture capital financing. The round was led by new investor Dace Ventures and includes existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Draper Fisher New England, Draper Atlantic and LaunchPad Venture Group.
The company plans to use the money to grow its sales force, accelerate new city launches and fuel new community features. To date, EveryScape has raised $11 million since its founding in 2004. The company has less than 50 employees.
The company is creating “The Real World Online” and so far is starting with major metropolitan areas such as Miami, Boston and New York as well as travel hotspots like and Aspen, Breckenridge and Snowmass, Colo., and Laguna Beach, Calif. The company plans to launch at least four additional major U.S. cities over the next few weeks.
“Dace is consistently looking for the next wave of innovation in the Web 2.0 space coupled with passionate entrepreneurs that can bring cutting-edge technology to market,” said Dave Andonian, managing partner at Dace Ventures, in a statement. “EveryScape’s stellar management team has the potential to fundamentally change the way we explore cities, towns and businesses online by truly replicating the real world experience.”In May, 2007, the company unveiled a demo of San Francisco’s Union Square.
Jim Schoonmaker, CEO, said the company has a lot of interest from local businesses who want to be part of EveryScape’s Real World Online. The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., got so excited about it that it commissioned more imagery to create a virtual tour advertisement. There are more than 600 scenes that viewers can see inside the resort. Schoomaker didn’t disclose traffic numbers but says it is exceeding targets.
“We are anxious to keep going,” said Schoonmaker. “There are lots more improvements coming in the user interface. People want to see what they can do around them. What does a hardware store in Acton, Mass., look like? We aren’t trying to model the whole world or that entire store, but we give you a good idea of the hot spots.”