Build, run, and scale geospatial products. Our developer platform opens up access to a variety of first-class geospatial data and processing power for the very first time. Here, you can pick and choose from a selection of off-the-shelf data and processing blocks.

SaaS API Marketplace Geospatial Developer Tools








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Jun 23, 2019

Build, run, and scale geospatial products


👍The major reason why I believe the concept of UP42 is super promising is because of the explosion of Geospatial imagery/data available. This explosion is driven by drones and nanosatellites (cubsat) which are increasingly better in terms of hardware and continuously cheaper to manufacture/buy/operate. We’re transitioning from a market in which geospatial data was proprietary and costly to access, to a market where data will get better, cheaper and available to everyone (see for example Planet).

👍In terms of use cases, geospatial analytics is already used in many industries for a wide variety of use cases ranging from agriculture (monitor the health of crops), insurance (used by underwriters to assess risk), military, marketing (measure occupancy rate of car parks from satellite imagery), competitive intelligence (monitor competitors expansion), energy (detect leakage on gas pipelines) etc… It’s not something new, the democratization of geospatial data will only accelerate this trend.


👍When it comes to market sizing, from a top-down perspective, the overall (from data to applications and services) geospatial analytics market size is estimated to be $40.65B in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 86.32 Billion by 2023 (source). From a bottom-up perspective, it’s interesting to think in terms of use cases (as I mentioned above), and I believe that a product such as UP42 can appeal to a variety of big customers (elephant/deer) such as insurers, big food chains, supermarkets, energy companies, etc...


👍The product is still in Beta and I haven’t check it, but I find the “full-stack” approach super interesting and relevant. Basically, UP42 wants to provide to developers a “vertical platform” where they’ll find:

  1. Various geospatial data (a marketplace of data providers).
  2. Ready “out of the box” building blocks to build their geospatial product.
  3. The infrastructure to run and scale such products.

They basically want to lower a maximum the friction for developers to use geospatial data in their product.

🤔My three biggest questions with this full-stack approach are:

  • Can you really build defensibility without proprietary data?
  • Dependency on data providers?
  • How can you create a high-quality product by directly being “full stack”? (an alternative is to start small and expand later)

Business model

🤔The product is still in Beta and the pricing is confusing (based on credits), so it’s hard to understand from their pricing page what kind of customers they target. That being said, taking into account the typical use cases of geospatial products, I don’t think it’s a “mice/rabbit” play (viral product with low price), but rather a “deer/elephant” one (higher price point which requires direct sales).


🤔Another major question for me is around the “Build versus Buy” dilema. Companies that provide geospatial products build them “in-house” because they can control everything and own the value they create. As a consequence, are they really going to “buy” and build part of their product on a platform they don’t control? On the other hand, you can think it’s companies that cannot build such products in-house (not enough expertise internally) that will really use UP42. This is why competition for UP42 will be this “Build versus Buy” tradeoff that customers will make.