Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2021’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch — presented by sponsors Husch Blackwell and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Rapidly scaling Replica won’t slow down in 2021, Nick Bowden said, teasing a year that’s expected to be driven by widespread team growth — at a time when job creation couldn’t be more critical.
Elevator pitch: Replica is an enterprise data platform that delivers critical insights about the built environment — across people, mobility, economic activity, and land use.
• Founders: Nick Bowden, Alexei Pozdnukhov, Brett Naul, Kael Greco
• Founding year: 2019
• Amount raised to date: $11 million
• Noteworthy investors: Innovation Endeavors, Firebrand, Rise of the Rest
• Programs completed: None
• Current employee count: 41
“Because we’ve grown so fast, we can’t hire fast enough,” Bowden, CEO and co-founder, said of the Alphabet-born company’s scale up phase and what it could mean for the local and distributed workforce in the months ahead.
Click here to read more about the birth of Replica and how it was spun out of Alphabet in 2019.
“I’ve been here six years, but in the Midwest most of my life,” the founder and former CEO of mySidewalk and former head of Model Lab for Sidewalk Labs said. “We want to do whatever we can to advance the startup scene here and provide an opportunity for people to work at a company that may have historically been based only in the bay area.”
The company hopes to at least double its team in 2021, Bowden said, which currently is spread across Overland Park, California, Utah, Colorado, and New York (where an official office is planned post-pandemic).
“Pre-pandemic, the Bay area had, arguably, the best concentration of talent for really, really technically advanced work. But having a Kansas City office and being headquartered here and having an East Coast presence, it allows us to tap into a much wider talent pool,” he explained.
“Our offices are pretty cross-functional. You’ve got technical folks in Kansas City, non-technical folks in the bay area. My guess is we’ll [remain] pretty distributed.”
Click here to explore current job openings at Replica or to submit your resume for future consideration.
Such an increase in talent could also double revenue potential for the urban planning-focused SaaS platform — an operation that’s seen significant growth as a result of needs uncovered by the COVID-era.
“We’re a data platform for the build environment. When people stop moving or there are such volatile changes in movement, spending, land use — turns out that public agencies kind of have a desperate need to understand what’s happening,” he said in example of ways Replica has grown its customer base in recent months.
Bowden said 2021 stands to see the startup secure partnerships in more than half of the nation’s top 100 cities as it works to establish itself as one of the fastest growing enterprise SaaS companies in existence.
“We’ve grown exceptionally fast, even by fast-growing startup terms,” he said, adding fuel from its early days inside of Alphabet has certainly helped position the company for success.
“We’ve been remarkably fortunate in that regard. I don’t know if there’s ever been a more important time to work with the public sector, but a lot of the work we do is very much in service of trying to build and enable cities to be more friendly, equitable, accessible.”
The Kansas City Startups Watch in 2021 list is made possible by presenting sponsors Husch Blackwell, a value-driven law firm with offices in Kansas City, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, though independently produced by Startland News.
Startups to Watch is now in its sixth year, thanks to ongoing support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.