'Underground Google Maps' co 4M Analytics raises $11m

4M Analytics founders Photo: Eyal Izhar

The Israeli subsurface utility mapping company started out as a mine detection company but failed to find funding.

Israeli subsurface utility mapping company 4M Analytics today announced the completion of an $11 million financing round led by Viola Ventures and with participation from existing investors F2 and angel investors Rami Beracha and Eyal Gabbai. This financing round brings to $18 million the amount raised by 4M Analytics.

4M Analytics was founded in 2019 by CEO Itzik Malka and COO Nir Cohen both graduates of the IDF's Yahalom Engineering unit and CTO Yoav Cohen, a colonel in the 9900 Visual Intelligence unit. The company has 50 employees.

4M Analytics started out by developing a technological engine to map out minefields and discover mines through aerial and satellite photography. But at the start of 2020, after failing to raise investment from venture capital funds for the mine venture, the startup pivoted to systems for subsurface utility mapping like oil, gas, electricity, communications, water, and sewage.

On the switch, Malkah told "Globes" earlier this year "I realized we were asking investors to give us money with an actual warning sign, and there was no way they’d invest in something risky that could literally explode and kill the entire investment," "We knew we provided data about the upper layer of substructure, the first few meters below ground. Aside from land mines, we thought about what else was of interest underground and arrived at infrastructure. Some companies map what’s happening above ground and there are mineral companies that map deep underground, but no one had focused on that top layer. You could say we went out looking for the trees and found the forest."

4M Analytics has about 25 customers, half in Israel and half in the US. The customers are planning and engineering companies who need intelligence on underground infrastructures. 4M Analytics combines data from satellite and aerial photography with existing data in order to provide the most precise mapping. As with miners so with infrastructures, 4M's systems use identifying signs on the surface in order to identify what lies beneath.

4M's system also allows planning on the maps that the company creates, to find for example where it is worth laying new pipes. All this can save long months of digging and exploration in the preliminary planning stage and prevent a dangerous clash with existing infrastructures.

Malkah said, "There are American companies that make digital data available on existing infrastructure maps. But use of these maps is problematic because they have deviations and the lines are not marked correctly. We go beyond this and produce for ourselves new and more accurate data. We are the first startup in this category and it is clear to us that others will enter it, so it is important for us to move fast."

The company currently offers infrastructure mapping according to customer demand, but 4M Analytics big plan is to produce comprehensive mapping of all underground infrastructures in the US within three years and become the "Google Maps for underground." According to Malkah, the current financing round will speed up development so that the company can map thousands of square kilometers each day.

4M Analytics is also planning to open a US headquarters alongside its Israel development center. Malkah added, "The construction world in which we are ivolved is an old world that has not undergone changes since the 1950s and 1960s. In this world you still need to be close to the customer and look him in the eyes and to go out with him for a beer for him to choose you."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 9, 2021

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

4M Analytics founders Photo: Eyal Izhar
4M Analytics founders Photo: Eyal Izhar
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