Populus raises $11m to improve city mobility

  • September 13, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Californian start-up Populus, which makes a platform for cities to manage mobility and fleet services, has announced an oversubscribed $11m series A funding round.

Populus will use the money to hire more people and scale its kerb and mobility management platform to additional cities around the world.

Populus’ core technology allows cities to access data securely from new mobility and fleet operators, providing cities with information to shape transportation policies. With access to the platform, cities can create, communicate and enforce dynamic kerbside rules, such as pricing to incentivise transitions towards lower carbon delivery vehicles and reduce congestion.

“We founded Populus because we are passionate about helping cities deliver safer, more carbon efficient transportation as new commercial fleet services continue to expand,” said Regina Clewlow, Populus co-founder and CEO. “Now, more than ever, cities have realised that they need to manage their precious physical real estate – kerbs and streets – to ensure that as mobility continues to evolve, city leaders can prioritise transportation safety and sustainability.”

The round was co-led by Zero Infinity Partners and Climactic with participation from Comcast Ventures and Robert Downey Jr’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures. As a result of this investment, John Kwaak, managing partner of Zero Infinity Partners, and Raj Kapoor, managing partner of Climactic, will join Populus’ board of directors.

Kwaak said: “Populus is building an innovative digital tool for cities to optimise the usage of their valuable kerbside and road infrastructure systems, and we are excited about the company’s prospect of becoming a good long-term partner to both public and private stakeholders alike.”

Kapoor added: “I talked to many cities about their critical need to manage new transportation modes and was delighted to find that Populus has built a foundational system of record working hand in hand with fleets as well as cities. Populus is in the best position to help cities move to a zero-emissions, fleet-based autonomous transportation network needed to accommodate the massive growth in urbanisation.”

The series A financing comes on the heels of momentum for Populus, which has expanded to more than 100 cities and agencies on four continents. The company works with some of the largest metropolitan areas in the world to manage their mobility programmes and kerbs digitally, including Chicago, San Diego and Tel Aviv.

Populus helps cities and private mobility providers deliver safe, efficient and equitable streets. The platform empowers cities to manage their streets and kerbs with access to mobility data from shared bike, scooter, moped and car sharing operators, and delivery services. The platform serves over 100 cities around the world, ingesting data from more than 40 operators and 150 million rides to date.