‘Our biggest competitor is paper’: Mapping startup Unearth lands $7M from Vulcan and Madrona


Unearth co-founders Amy Hutchins, Nate Miller and Brian Saab. (Unearth Photo)

Unearth Technologies is front-and-center on the map of the Seattle startup scene.

The company, which aims to simplify geographic information system (GIS) mapping technology, just raised $7 million as part of a Series A investment round led by Vulcan Capital, the investment arm of the late Paul Allen, with participation from Madrona Venture Group.

The mapping startup launched in 2016 by several former employees of Buuteeq, a hotel marketing startup that sold to Priceline in 2014. Unearth’s original mission focused on using data to improve productivity in the construction industry.

Co-founders Amy Hutchins, Nate Miller and Brian Saab have since shifted the company’s focus to work with major players in the utilities, government, infrastructure, and energy sectors to use existing GIS data for building, inspecting and maintaining physical assets. Unearth’s diverse customer base includes Granite Construction, Middlebury College, and Pacific Gas and Electric.

(Unearth Photo)

In some ways, Unearth is simply exploiting advancements in mobile and cloud technology.

“This wasn’t possible 10 years ago, but now, between a great user experience, a map-based experience, and the ubiquity of mobile technology and cloud technology, we can arm an entire workforce, and we can move them into a digital arena, where previously they were dealing with paper,” said Saab, CEO of Unearth. “Honestly, our biggest competitor is paper.”

The company’s user interface was designed with an emphasis on mobile applications so that it can be used by field workers without the need for lots of training.

The involvement with Vulcan is notable given its status as major real estate player in the Seattle area. As a company that has built out some of the most important real estate projects in Seattle, including Amazon’s South Lake Union campus and the new Google Cloud campus, Vulcan would be a prime candidate to be involved with building data.

“We know how detrimental fragmented data and paper processes are to built-world companies,” Stuart Nagae, partner at Vulcan Capital, said in a statement. “We quickly recognized Unearth as a veteran startup team that’s impacting these aspects of the industry.”

Saab said that Vulcan represented an “ideal” partner for the young startup. “They’re maybe one of a handful of venture capitalists in the world that have that understanding of both technology and real estate,” he said.

Unearth, which has now raised a total of $11.6 million, plans to use the fresh cash to grow its engineering team and sales efforts.

“Brian and the team have worked hard over the last year and a half to define and refine their approach to helping both new construction and built-out spaces effectively use GIS technology to create a system of intelligence that drives better productivity and collaboration,” said S. Somasegar, a board member at Unearth and managing director at Madrona Venture Group, which also participated in an earlier round for the startup.

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