Google Maps is put to shame. An interview with Misha Gopaul.
Misha Gopaul - Founder of FATMAP
Google Maps is put to shame. an interview with Founder Misha Gopaul
Miron BykovLondon - 16/12/2019
Today we spoke to Misha Gopaul Founder of FATMAP
FATMAP, founded by Misha in 2013, is an outdoor adventure platform and high-resolution 3D map for both web and mobile. It now provides a map of every inch of this earth!
Tell me about the day the idea was born. I was on an expedition in the high mountains of Aladag (Turkey). A ferocious storm followed causing my co-founder (David) and I to be trapped in our tent for 7 days! With no internet or phones, we had to attempt the courageous act of socialising. Although this may sound scary, but we did it.
Our discussions were varied and soon a conversation unravelled about how maps for the outdoors haven’t evolved, all the big companies like Google, Apple, Nokia and Microsoft have revolutionised mapping for cities but no-one went the extra mile of digitising the great plains of the countryside. David had this idea of reinventing mapping scored up in his head for years. Inside the hurling winds we sat in the cramped tent yet to realise that Google Maps would be put to shame.
Sometime after I moved to Shamany, where I started training as a mountain guide, by doing this it became very obvious that this was a problem. People were simply held back when trying to go on trips in the wild because there weren’t any maps that would guide them.
What was the biggest turning point in the life of FATMAP? Last year we launched our global map, meaning that we went from being a tool for athletes to be a global monster by mapping every trail, peak and river for both summer and winter. This was a huge game changer; the product transformed into a platform meaning that people could also start sharing their routes and therefore build a global community.
Another turning point was when we started up our office in Berlin. It was one of the best places to build a consumer technology business, and I had the fortune to meet Michael Halbherr (CEO of Nokia’s Mapping) who helped to create an incredible team here.
Three top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Be passionate about the problem you are solving
Stand on the shoulder of giants. Read the Lean start-up and Blogs about entrepreneurs that have done it before.
Your business will fail or succeed based on the quality of the people you surround yourself with. This is frequently overlooked in practice.
What gets you out of bed every morning? Literally – my two kids who are full of energy and excitement, I guess this reminds me to also be full of energy and excitement.
Metaphorically – it is our mission to help people experience the amazing adventures as well as nature out there in the world.
What did you want to be when you were little? A racing driver or a fighter pilot.
Favourite Disney character: Bagheera (Jungle Book)
What is FATMAP planning for the world next? We have just launched ‘explore’ which is a global club for adventure. We are taking the mapping technology, global map and the guidebook of adventures to build a global community to bring people, businesses and brands together in the real world.