A massive round of Series B funding will boost Replica’s data platform as it changes how cities are planned and operated — especially in the wake of a global pandemic and a renewed emphasis on infrastructure spending from the federal level down, said Nick Bowden.
The $41 million round was led by Founders Fund and joined by previous investors including Innovation Endeavors, Sidewalk Labs, Rise of the Rest Fund and Firebrand, the company announced Wednesday.
Elevator pitch: Replica is an enterprise data platform that makes complex, rapidly-changing urban ecosystems easier to understand.
• Founders: Nick Bowden, Alexei Pozdnukhov, Brett Naul, Kael Greco
• Founding year: 2019
• Amount raised to date: $52 million
• Noteworthy investors: Founders Fund, Innovation Endeavors, Sidewalk Labs, Rise of the Rest Fund, Firebrand
• Current employee count: 50
“For decades, the public sector has had to use long-ago data to forecast a far-away future. However, this puts them at a disadvantage compared to the private sector, which can use digital data from last week to operate quickly and nimbly,” said Bowden, CEO and co-founder of the Overland Park-based govtech startup. “Replica gives public agencies a more current, responsive and informed way to run their operations and make decisions.”
The new funding is expected to help support a growing customer base, as well as build new solutions more quickly as the nation gains new understanding about what services and spending the “new normal” might need, he added.
Click here to read Replica’s announcement in full.
“Government has taken on a bigger role over the past year due to COVID, and the Biden administration has signaled that they have ambitious plans for infrastructure spending,” Bowden told Startland News Wednesday. “This means that as we exit this COVID era, our customers will continue to be asked to do more — that might mean adopting new technologies, thinking about equitable services in a new way, building new housing, implementing policies to combat climate change, and much more.
“From where we sit at Replica, we are here to help our customers make sense of the data that drives these needs and trends, and help customers successfully meet these challenges and opportunities.”
Replica was named one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2021, in part because of its growth outlook and plans to at least double its team, which currently is spread across Overland Park, California, Utah, Colorado, and New York (where an official office is planned post-pandemic). Since December, the company already has jumped from 41 to 50 employees.
Click here to read more about the birth of Replica, which began as a project of Sidewalk Labs in 2017 and was spun-out of Alphabet as a standalone, independent company in 2019.
The SaaS platform gives professionals like urban planners and policymakers new insights about how people are living and moving throughout the communities where they live and work. Data from Replica equips those professionals to consider the impacts, trade-offs and nuances of programs so they can make informed policy and spending decisions, the company explained.
Watch a video below of Bowden’s interview from Startland News’ Startups to Watch interview special, then keep reading.
“We’re a data platform for the built 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,” Bowden, the founder and former CEO of mySidewalk and former head of Model Lab for Sidewalk Labs, told Startland News previously.
Replica’s customers across the U.S. are already using the company’s data to inform spending decisions and policy-making, with users that range from state-level transportation agencies to regional planning organizations to city budget offices, the company said.
“Our cities, states and agencies are being asked to do more than ever. At the same time, they’re operating in a time when technology and data present opportunities to serve constituents in new ways,” Bowden said. “Replica gives them the data and analysis capabilities to bridge those challenges and opportunities.”
In 2021 and beyond, Replica anticipates increased growth for the data platform in:
- Post-COVID planning: During the pandemic, Replica helped major transportation agencies like New York’s MTA adjust schedules so that essential workers could still get to work. As regions emerge from pandemic-restricted life, Replica will help planners understand how to readjust and reimagine services that were affected.
- Infrastructure: As the Biden administration contemplates significant new infrastructure spending, Replica can help make planning more measurable, adaptable and responsive by incorporating the latest data about our world. For example, data from Replica can help determine how to most efficiently place electric vehicle chargers across the country.
- Climate, resiliency and equity: As cities and states introduce policies to curb climate impacts and increase social equity and access, having trusted data that looks across time — past, present, and future — is fundamental. In California, the implementation of laws like SB743 requires that new development is assessed on its impact on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), for example. Replica is already helping Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) understand the impact and implications of VMT throughout the Sacramento region.
“Planners and policymakers make better plans and sounder policy when they have current, relevant data,” said Trae Stephens, partner at Founders Fund, which led the round announced Wednesday. “The kind of data Replica provides results in more creative designs, more comprehensive policy solutions, and direct positive impact on constituents’ lives. And the fact that Replica always prioritizes privacy at every step helps build trust in the communities they support.”
Replica plans to expand its suite of product solutions in 2021, including the addition of Scenario, an intuitive and accessible forecasting and scenario modeling tool.
Click here to learn more about Replica.