PublicStuff, the New York City based startup that makes a system to let citizens make real-time requests to their local governments for public services, has raised $5 million in new funding. The financing was disclosed today in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
We’ve reached out to PublicStuff for details on who the latest investors are and how the new funding will be deployed. We will be sure to issue updates with any more information we receive.
Update: A PublicStuff representative tells us that the funding was provided by FirstMark Capital and the Knight Foundation along with the company’s previous investors. PublicStuff also provided the following statement attributed to co-founder and CEO Lily Liu:
“FirstMark is an incredibly well respected firm and we’re thrilled to work with them and the Knight Foundation to further expand our services. In this year alone we’ve expanded to over 200 cities nationwide, including the City of Philadelphia. We will be using these funds to grow the team, enhance the product and bring civic engagement tools to more communities worldwide. We’re excited to share with the public what the future has in store as we take civic engagement to the next level.”
PublicStuff’s last funding round was in November 2011, when the company brought $1.5 million from a set of investors that reportedly included Lerer Ventures, First Round Capital and High Peaks Venture Partners. PublicStuff was co-founded in 2009 by Liu and CTO Vincent Polidoro and first launched at the Fall 2010 DEMO conference.
Here’s PublicStuff’s value proposition: Say you notice a pothole in the street or lingering trash on a curb, and you want to report it to the authorities. The way that most cities typically manage the reporting and handling of such issues is through a telephone line or a basic email inbox, which means that the reception and handling of public requests can be slow and spotty. PublicStuff has made a web-based system aimed at providing a faster and more efficient way for such requests to be submitted, received, and closed out.
On the public-facing side, PublicStuff’s system lets people report outstanding issues to the relevant local authorities via the web or its apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry. On the government’s side, PublicStuff provides a web program for city staff members to monitor the inbound service requests and manage the assignments. People who make requests can check back in on the progress of the fix.
In addition to local governments, PublicStuff’s offering is also available to the likes of landlords and educational institution — basically, it’s open to be used by any entity who handles a number of consistent inbound service requests.
With people flocking to cities more and more, and the demand for more tech-savvy government growing consistently, it seems that PublicStuff’s offering could be well-positioned for even more traction going forward. According to a recent press release from the company, PublicStuff is already in use in over 200 cities nationwide. It’ll be interesting to see how much more the company expands going forward now that it has some more funding in its coffers.