Announcing Our Investment in Populus, a Digital Infrastructure Platform for City Curbs and Streets

By Marc Silberman
Sep 16, 2022 10:00 AM ET
Blog

Comcast is helping shape the cities of the future. From launching a connected lighting pilot in Philadelphia that helps the city collect real-time air quality data, to delivering the next phase of connected living with Xfinity Communities, we’re on the journey toward truly connected and smart cities.

As part of that journey, I’m excited to announce Comcast Ventures’ investment in Populus – a mobility platform that helps cities manage their curbs and reduce transportation climate impacts – as part of the company’s recently announced $11M Series A. We’re joining an incredibly strong group of new and existing investors, including Zero Infinity Partners, Climactic, Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, Precursor Ventures, and more.

According to the World Economic Forum, the number of delivery vehicles in the top 100 cities globally will increase by 36% by 2030. More delivery vehicles means more greenhouse gas emissions (+32% by 2030) and more congestion, which is expected to increase 21% by 2030, adding an additional 11 minutes to the average person’s commute. Factor in the continued growth of shared / micromobility services and cities will face even greater pressure on some of their most scarce physical resources: streets, curbs, and sidewalks.

Populus is helping these cities prepare for a congested future that’s fast approaching - and in many ways is already here. At the most basic level, the platform helps cities digitally manage their streets and curbs. Using Populus, cities can 1) securely access critical data from new mobility and fleet operators and 2) use this data to create, share, and enforce new, dynamic policies that can promote lower emissions and ease congestion.

We’re enthusiastic believers in this mission to create cleaner, safer, and more equitable city streets. In addition to these goals connecting with Comcast’s commitment to fostering a cleaner, healthier environment, two of the many other reasons we’re excited about Populus are:

  • A distinctive product-market-founder fit: Co-Founders Regina Clewlow and Fletcher Foti are transportation industry experts that have spent over a decade not only studying the impact of new mobility services on cities, but also applying their research to solve real-world industry problems. Regina and Fletcher have prioritized building a team that shares their passion for improved and more sustainable transportation.
  • Impressive worldwide traction and scalable go-to-market: In just a handful of years, Populus has established itself as an industry leader, serving over 100 cities around the world, ingesting data from more than 40 operators and 150 million rides to date. From Chicago and San Diego, all the way to Tel Aviv, some of the world’s largest cities rely on Populus as a true “system of record” and core transportation optimization tool.

We look forward to partnering with Regina, Fletcher, and the entire Populus team as they scale to serve even more cities around the world. It’s amazing to see what they’ve accomplished in just a few years, and it’s clear the future is bright (and also clean, safe, and equitable)!

Marc Silberman is Partner, Comcast Ventures