We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck that the urban-planning startup Citylitics used to raise $5 million
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- Citylitics is a startup that aggregates millions of city-planning documents into one database.
- Engineers and city planners can use the software to help plan their development projects.
- The company raised $5 million to expand into new categories of city infrastructure information.
The Toronto startup Citylitics wants to help city planners, contractors, and engineers across North America find all of the city-planning data they need in one place.
The company just raised a $5 million Series A round coled by Dallas Venture Capital and Cerium Technology Ventures, with participation from Klister and GCI.
The cofounders, Ahmed Badruddin and Sunit Mohindroo, came up with the idea for Citylitics in 2019 after building their first database startup, WatrHub, in 2012, which tried to help engineers find data around city water laws and zoning districts. It quickly became clear that there was a larger untapped market for all kinds of civil-infrastructure data, not just water permits.
City-planning contracts, for projects such as ordering new construction equipment, mapping and building new highways and public-transit routes, or even engineering drainage pathways on city streets, have been historically distributed via word of mouth to a select few contractors. And there’s no central database for locating them, Badruddin explained. Furthermore, it would take days, if not weeks, to compile all the data a contractor needed to get information about zoning, water sources, and existing regulations on building these projects. By using Citylitics, more contractors would be able to put in offers for projects and also see which ones were available through an online dashboard.
Badruddin and Mohindroo built an AI tool to scrape cities’ permitting databases and make predictions on how much urban-development projects would cost, and Citylitics was born.
The startup has this data for over 31,000 cities, or almost every incorporated city in the US and Canada, Badruddin told Insider.
Planners and developers can access a wide range of files to help them plan their projects and pitches, including council-meeting minutes, budgets, capital plans, permits, and environmental reports. “We’re the only source that can aggregate it from that bottom up to give that kind of granular view at a city-per-city level of what the infrastructure needs and problems and plans are,” Badruddin said.
Badruddin and Mohindroo hope to use their fresh funds to expand into new categories of infrastructure information, such as electricity, waste management, and renewable energy. And since Congress passed the $1 trillion infrastructure funding bill last year, Badruddin said it was good timing for Citylitics to expand into other industries to help contractors make sense of all the new construction projects that many local governments would be spearheading.