Shared mobility data platform secures further funding

March 15, 2019

Populus​, a San Francisco-based start-up founded by transportation industry veterans from MIT and UC Berkeley, has raised an oversubscribed $3.1 million seed round to help cities access better data to plan for private mobility fleets.

This latest round of financing brings the company’s total funding to $3.85 million, with backing from Relay Ventures, Precursor Ventures, and a fund exclusively supporting MIT alumni, among others.

Data from shared mobility operators

The Populus platform allows cities to securely access vehicle and trip data from shared mobility operators, including scooters, bikes, and cars, to shape transportation policy and planning. Populus also claims to be the only data platform that ingests real-time data from shared cars to support ​efficient kerbside management and pricing​.
“As our company’s name implies, the Populus team is focused on helping the public sector and private operators prioritise safely moving more people, not cars in our cities,” said CEO and co-founder, Regina Clewlow, a former executive of Moovel and who was a research scientist and lecturer at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and MIT where she became a leading expert on shared mobility and its impacts on cities.

She added: “In a few short months, we have already seen that when cities have access to shared mobility data through our platform, they are able to make decisions that are sometimes politically challenging, such as carving off street space for bikes and scooters to safely operate.

"The Populus team is focused on helping the public sector and private operators prioritise safely moving more people, not cars in our cities”

“We are also seeing that many public agencies are beginning to consider new pricing models for streets, sidewalks, and kerbs – strategies that can help reduce traffic and shift our cities towards more energy efficient transportation systems.”

Populus already supports major cities and private mobility operators to facilitate the exchange of vehicle and trip data for mobility management and planning. The platform is being used in several metropolitan areas, including Washington, DC, the Bay Area, and Los Angeles region, as well as by leading mobility operators who use their platform to securely deliver insights from their data to cities.

“Over the past decade we have seen an explosion of shared mobility services. In order to fulfill their promises of delivering safer, equitable, and efficient streets, shared mobility operators will require platform partners like Populus to facilitate their continued growth,” said Charles Hudson, managing partner of Precursor Ventures and new Populus board member.

He added that the Populus team has dedicated their careers to solving the world’s "biggest urban problems". "And they are building a game-changing platform that will transform the future of cities.”

Populus’ chief technical officer and co-founder is Fletcher Foti, former chief data scientist of a UC Berkeley software spin-off that was acquired by Autodesk to simulate the future of cities.