The startup said it plans to use the new funding for launching in new cities, and expanding the team. There’s no firm word as yet on where exactly the service will roll out to next. But the startup is currently crowdsourcing city suggestions on its website.
The urban transport app, which is currently live in London, New York, Berlin and Paris, is designed to help users figure out the best way to get around a city — pulling in live public transport data and drawing on all available multi-modal options, from buses, subways and taxis to bikes and even walking, to suggest potential routes to get to your destination.
Citymapper started life back in 2011 focusing only on buses — when it was called Busmapper — but has since expanded its remit, with the aim of becoming the go-to app for urban users wondering how they get home of an evening.
To make itself even more handy to its convenience-loving user base, it also pulls in related data on any transport disruptions, and even incorporates weather info for the destination and calories burned if you’re biking or walking.
Commenting on the funding in a blog post, Bernard Liautaud, general partner at Balderton Capital, said: “We have always been impressed by the single-minded focus on product quality throughout the company, led by the founder Azmat Yusuf. This product particularly shines in two areas which we think are crucial in an app-based world: removing friction, and distinctiveness of voice.”
“We believe that in time Citymapper will become a homescreen mobile app for any city-dweller, helping them get around their city,” he added.
Liautaud pointed to Citymapper’s execution on mobile, its “pure focus” on public transit navigation and its localization to each city as core advantages over rival transport apps.
“Citymapper does one thing extremely well, which in a mobile app world we believe is the difference between success and failure,” he said.
He also described its potential to further harness crowdsourced data from its engaged user-base, in order to augment its offering with even more real-time transport info, as a “major opportunity” — following a similar playbook to crowdsourced traffic community app Waze, which routed itself to an impressive exit by selling to Google for $1.1 billion last year.
Presumably the potential of a similarly lucrative exit is encouraging the VCs to reach for their checkbooks in Citymapper’s case. The transport use-case encourages repeat usage — leading to an engaged user-base that has to potential to become a content-generating community in its own right.
“Citymapper is exactly the type of disruptive, global, product-obsessed company we at Balderton want to back,” Liautaud added.