Replica Secures $41 Million in Series B Funding to Change How Cities Plan and Operate
As the U.S. Emerges from COVID-19 and Prepares for New Infrastructure Planning, Data from Replica Brings New Understanding about What Services and Spending Our "New Normal" May Need
Apr 21, 2021, 09:15 ET
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., April 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Replica, the data platform that makes complex, rapidly-changing urban ecosystems easier to understand, today announced that it has secured $41 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Founders Fund and joined by previous investors including Innovation Endeavors, Sidewalk Labs, Rise of the Rest Fund and Firebrand. Replica gives professionals like urban planners and policymakers new insights about how people are living and moving throughout the communities where we live and work. Data from Replica better equips these professionals to consider the impacts, trade-offs and nuances of programs so they can make informed policy and spending decisions.
Replica was founded to help solve some of the toughest challenges that public agencies face: access to current data, and information silos. Public agencies have come to rely on traditional data sources that are rarely updated (like the 10-year Census or household surveys that might only get updated every 5 years). In addition, organizational structures in the public sector make it difficult for multiple agencies to share data insights with one another (for example, between cities and state-level departments). Replica helps the public sector overcome these challenges to modernize its planning processes and policy development.
"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. Replica gives public agencies a more current, responsive and informed way to run their operations and make decisions," said Nick Bowden, CEO and Co-Founder of Replica. "This new funding will help us support a growing customer base, as well as build new solutions more quickly."
Replica's core technology is rooted in large-scale simulations powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning that help public and private sector customers assess current needs, investigate and develop new solutions, and forecast future impacts. These simulations leverage Replica's proprietary synthetic populations and behavior models, which enable the company to produce high-fidelity "replicas" of transportation and economic patterns. This methodology makes it possible for customers to receive high-quality, high-fidelity outputs that leverage new data sources like mobile location data, without compromising individual privacy.
"Planners and policymakers make better plans and sounder policy when they have current, relevant data. 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," said Trae Stephens, Partner at Founders Fund.
Replica's customers around 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. In 2021 and over the coming years, Replica anticipates a number of ways that customers will use its data:
- 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.
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.
Replica is the data platform that makes complex, rapidly-changing urban ecosystems easier to understand. Replica uses data science and machine learning to show some of the biggest public agencies in the U.S. what's happening in their cities and regions, and enables them to make informed decisions about public services and spending. Data from Replica helps customers accurately assess needs, develop solutions, and forecast the impact of future planning decisions. Replica's data comes from traditional sources like the Census or agency-provided data (like transit ridership or highway traffic counts), and layers in current data from new, digital sources. Importantly, Replica's models are based on Synthetic Populations — or anonymized "replicas" of groups — which offers critical privacy protection for customers and constituents. Replica began as a project of Sidewalk Labs in 2017 and was spun-out as a standalone, independent company in 2019.
Share this article