Few software companies have transformed the way we think about moving through physical space like Niantic. The creators of Pokémon GO and soon Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Niantic has become an incredible unicorn success story, with a reported valuation of nearly $4 billion. One part AR, one part gaming, one part location, and many parts fun, the company has been brilliant in executing on an original product vision for what the future of our devices — and us — will be.

But the company didn’t start that way of course. Rather, the path to its present day success began almost two decades ago when a couple of engineers and product types came together to build the technology that would eventually power Google Earth. From those

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