Azmat Yusuf, the founder, and CEO of Citymapper announced at TechCrunch Disrupt London that now the start-up has been tested and is working in many cities, plans are now in hand to commence monetizing in 2017. Citymapper is a highly popular public transportation service in European cities, there have been challenges.
According to the Citymapper CEO; “I was trying to live a low-cost life. I was wandering around London and was trying to figure out how to take the bus. My personal issue is that I was trying to figure out how to get back home at 3 in the morning.”
One apparent challenge was seen by Azmat regarding how the public bus service was operating in London and which is seen as being somewhat complicated. A general comment is that the locations of the bus stops are not obvious and the bus numbers must be remembered. Another service aspect is trying to determine where to change buses if needed!
Mr. Yusuf made a statement on this as follows; “It’s such a flat city if you can figure out how to use the buses you can go anywhere. Back then, people would just get in the bus and ask the driver where does it go. I thought it was just me and that everyone else around me knew how to use buses and I was the idiot.”
Since Busmapper changed to Citymapper, the company has taken advantage of open data to determine the appropriate itinerary and construct its own in-house data to meet any shortcomings. The Citymapper system is now operating in 35 to 40 cities around the world. Yusuf comments; “A lot of what we’ve been doing is building to tools to create data,”
Investors saw the potential in Citymapper and tens of millions of dollars were forthcoming from recognised Venture Capital sources. Azmat expressed surprise; “I never thought European investors would be into it. Some of the investors use public transport and they were actually using it,” Furthermore; “A lot of investors came to us. To be honest, I was resisting raising a lot. When you have something that is working and it doesn’t cost a lot to do some of the things we do, you don’t want to overcapitalize the company.”
Yusuf, states that the company has not invested in marketing and as user volumes are not disclosed by Citymapper, it is not generally known how many people are making use of the app! However, these factors do not mean that Citymapper cannot be a profitable enterprise.
Yusuf comments; “From the business side, what’s interesting is the many ways we can monetize it, You’re going to see us in 2017 actually make a business out of it. There are multiple ways we can do it.”
The founder and CEO of Citymapper declined to provide any further information, but there appears no doubt that Citymapper is not for sale now. It is like Waze but designed for public transportation. Yusuf was asked the question about whether the start-up could sell to Google for $1 billion just like Waze? Azmat responded; “That’s boring!”