I’ve been a fan of Recce’s “whimsical” 3D mobile mapping interface since I first got a demo a couple of years ago from former Googler Bart Denny. Recce’s UI is fun and different from the mapping leaders, Google, Nokia, Microsoft, Mapquest and Apple. But given the dominance of these companies and their consumer mindshare, Recce’s bid seemed like quite a long shot.
Recce is also very ambitious about what it’s trying to create (or at least it was when it launched). It doesn’t really see itself as a pure mapping startup or provider. The founders have sought to build something broader that can take in a wide range of offline information and local content from many different sources.
To date Recce has only generated maps for three cities: London, New York and San Francisco. However I’m told maps for the full US and UK are coming soon.
In a provocative move, Recce also recently produced a 3D mapping app (Melbourne, Australia) for local search purveyor Sensis, published under the Sensis mapping brand Whereis (pictured above). My understanding is that like most startups Recce has limited engineering resources and so has to be careful where it deploys them. However the company could easily pursue an interesting path as a white label mapping provider for third party publishers.
Ideally Recce would both expand its visibility as consumer brand and simultaneously produce mapping apps for directory publishers and others in the local space. I don’t know if the Sensis “gig” was a one-off or start of a push to become a white-label provider of 3D mobile maps.
Recce is ultimately a natural acquisition candidate. However both the strength and “weakness” of Recce, from an acquisition standpoint, is the fact that its UI is very different than all the major mapping companies. By contrast, Amazon is an interesting candidate that hasn’t yet developed its own mapping experience. TripAdvisor, with its many cityguides, is another interesting potential suitor. And then there’s Facebook.