Thursday 25 March 2021 9:56 am

Ikea and ITV invest in location tech startup what3words

Ikea and ITV have both thrown their weight behind a startup that has divided the world into three-metre squares each with a unique three-word name to help pinpoint addresses.

Ingka Group, the holding company behind the Swedish flat-pack giant, has pumped £12m into what3words, while ITV has taken a minority stake valued at £2m.

What3words, which was founded in London in 2013, is designed to tackle the inaccuracy of street addresses and provide precise locations such as building entrances, parks and many rural areas.

Its technology has divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each of which has a unique three-word code.

The system is designed to help businesses ranging from ecommerce and logistics to ride-hailing and navigation apps, as well as emergency services.

The investment is the latest in a string of moves by Ikea as it looks to take stakes in delivery and finance startups.

“What3words has created an innovative solution to the problem of poor and inaccurate addressing, which is a problem in both developing and developed countries,” Ingka Investments said in a statement.

ITV’s investment is the first in a new scheme that will see the broadcaster take minority stakes in early stage digital startups, alongside venture capital investment, in exchange for advertising inventory.

The company is taking a stake in what3words valued at £2m in exchange for ad inventory, with an option to invest a further £2m.

Kelly Williams, managing director of ITV Commercial, said: “We are always exploring new and creative opportunities to introduce emerging brands to TV advertising. 

“This new equity scheme marks an opportunity for ITV to invest in and support entrepreneurial consumer-focused companies, whilst diversifying and expanding upon our existing clients and relationships.”