Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ingka Group, owner and operator of 389 IKEA stores and e-commerce in 32 countries, has invested close to GBP 12 million in location technology what3words. The investment will be used to launch the company in new international markets while continuing to develop partners within the e-commerce and logistics sector.
Around the world, billions of people live without an address or an address that is not fit for purpose. what3words has created an innovative solution to the problem of poor and inaccurate addressing which is a problem in both developing and developed countries alike. It has divided the world into a grid of 3-meter squares and given each square a unique combination of three words – a what3words address. For example, ///filled.count.soap will take you to the exact front door to what3words’ London office.
“We are delighted with this new investment in what3words as they are an innovative company and we are confident of their continued growth. With an increasing demand for home deliveries, scalable and sustainable solutions are becoming increasingly important. We see value in helping to support the build-up of a universal addressing system that can lead to better customer experience, while the precise locations will allow for a reduction in overall miles traveled, reducing the carbon footprint of home deliveries,” says Krister Mattsson, Managing Director of Ingka Investments.
Unlike a regular street address, the system allows people to specify a very precise location such as a side door or utility entrance. Of course, this is hugely valuable for deliveries and last-mile logistics, but the potential runs larger. From accurate point-to-point navigation, finding unaddressed locations, assisting emergency and humanitarian organizations to help people in their everyday life to easier and more accurately find what they are looking for – be it a thing, person, or place.
“what3word’s ambition is to become a global standard for communicating location. We envisage a world where on every platform, in every checkout field, you can give your what3words address, with retailers able to deliver to that precise 3-meter square. The investment from Ingka Investments will help us unlock new markets while accelerating our position as a ‘must-have’ in the logistics industry,” says Chris Sheldrick, CEO, and co-founder of what3words.
With reliable and highly accurate location information, more first-time deliveries are successful, reducing CO2 emissions and vehicles on the road. Pilot tests show what3words addresses for city deliveries can reduce the time spent on the road in the last mile by up to 30 percent. Looking to a future of drone deliveries and autonomous vehicles, the system, also designed for voice entry, will provide the accuracy needed.
The investment is the latest in a series of investments made by Ingka Group to strengthen its core IKEA retail business by investing in innovative companies in areas such as digitalization, customer fulfillment, fintech, and sustainability, that support its ongoing transformation to becoming ever more affordable, accessible and sustainable.