VC Funded Map Mashup Zooms Out

The writing has been on the virtual wall for some time, but it's official: mashup pioneer Platial (our Platial profile) is shutting down. Former CEO Di-Ann Eisnor cites server costs of $7,000 per month in an interview with GigaOm.

Platial/Frappr map awards

Eisnor moved on to crowdsourced traffic company Waze in July. Last week Platial announced an export tool in anticipation of the shut-down.

What went wrong? No reliable source of revenue, as we covered in 2006. At the time Platial was ahead of the curve, but no business model ever appeared:

"We all assumed that the location-based advertising market would heat up a lot faster than it has. We’ve worked with all of them over the years: ReachLocal, AT&T/Ingenio. Advertisers are still thinking that within a city means location-targeted, so all of the benefits we were providing around a specific location were not very real."

The company was once a poster child of mashups. It was VC-funded and had a vibrant community. Eisnor notes there were potential acquisitions along the way, but nothing panned out. Platial made an acquisition of its own when it bought a similar mashup, Frappr. But both were hurt when Google announced My Maps, which had similar functionality.

What's this mean for today's location applications? Eisnor believes it's a better time to be a geo startup:

"I'm still bullish. Even if no dollars are made till 2011, people raising money now will be able to get over the gap."

Hat tip: Jeremy Crampton via @spatialsustain

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: See Where the Queen Catches the Bus