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Ervin started Geocode.xyz in 2016. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Geocode.xyz?
I have a background in CS and Math (My master CS thesis was on a class of 3SUM hard problems in Computational Geometry)
I’ve been building independent bootstrapped startups since 2005, when I quit my last day job. One of those is geocoder.ca, a geocoding API for Canada and the US I started in 2005 (and is still going strong). It also served as the starting point to go global with geocode.xyz in 2016.
> Identify your strengths and do what you like to do. Having a sense of purpose is important, especially when that purpose is to solve a problem you can muster the ability to solve.
The idea of building geolocation API’s started from the time I was in Graduate School, due to the lack to such APIs at the time (Google Maps had not been released yet.)
I did not validate the idea, this was a product I needed myself for a number of other projects I was working on. As demand for the API grew, so did a business plan aimed at paying for the time it took me to add all the features that others requested.