UrbanLeap: Why We Invested
Today, roughly 50% of the global population lives in urban areas and 1.5 million new people are migrating to cities every week. This rapid urbanization places pressure on local municipalities to improve everything from healthcare & transportation to education, economic development, and safety. Despite clear incentives and growing budgets for municipalities to improve citizen quality of life, municipal executives lack technology, data, and software to help them make decisions, measure progress, and collaborate effectively. With Smart City spending expected to grow to $2.57t by 2025, we think the time has come for municipalities to move the pilot process from paper and excel to a purpose-built software platform.
Enter UrbanLeap, a Silicon Valley based start-up led by CEO Arik Bronshtein & CTO Erez Druk. In just a few short months, Arik & Erez spoke with more than 100 municipal decision makers and brought their SaaS platform from concept to revenue, embodying the lean start-up ethos, and demonstrating blazing fast speed. With UrbanLeap, municipalities can efficiently prioritize proposals, plan, contract, track, and evaluate new solutions to their challenges. These capabilities enable cities to bring their citizens an increasing number of benefits, with the same resources. As Louis Stewart, CIO of Sacramento, puts it — “By partnering with UrbanLeap, we estimate a 10x expansion in the city’s innovation capacity.”
With the City of Hayward, SACOG, and Palo Alto as early paying customers, multiple pilots, a pipeline of more than 100 cities, and more than 550,000 local governments worldwide, we came to understand the enormous potential of the addressable market and that this product isn’t just a nice-to-have. Rather, UrbanLeap turns chaos into structure for complex organizations. Moreover, as UrbanLeap’s customer base broadens, UrbanLeap will understand market trends and generate recommendations, best practices, and benchmarks for cities, creating a network effect & becoming the intelligence layer for municipal executives.
Of course, selling SaaS to municipalities requires a different playbook than B2B SaaS. Buyer personas can vary dramatically between cities, start-ups must overcome cultural and technical barriers, and municipalities purchase decisions may follow different incentive systems than typical enterprise solutions. UrbanLeap has built a compelling go to market and further deepened their understanding of these idiosyncrasies, by adding a stellar cast of angel investors and advisers, including Maury Blackman, former CEO of Accela ($900m govtech acquisition) and Nate Levine, co-founder of OpenGov.com (more than 2,000 customers). Additionally one of their early supporters is Dr. Jonathan Reichental, CIO of Palo Alto, a top 100 CIO in the world and one of the top 20 most influential CIO’s in the United States. We saw their involvement and commitment throughout the diligence process and gained confidence that although the playbook may be different, it helps to have the authors on your team.
As UrbanLeap accelerates towards its seed round and beyond, we’re excited to partner with Arik and Erez, a team of Silicon Valley all-stars as they bridge the municipal innovation gap and improve the quality of life for billions of urban dwellers around the world!