The platform makes it easier for city governments to engage innovative small businesses and entrepreneurs
Omidyar Network announced has invested $500,000 in Citymart, a civic tech platform that aims to help city governments improve their procurement process.
The investment will help Citymart develop its online platform that provides users with a collaborative tool to capture ideas, develop solutions, conduct market research, and connect with the most innovative vendors to solve complex urban challenges.
In addition to creating a more efficient, transparent and accountable procurement process, Citymart said it is helping to drive forward one of the key objectives for the civic tech sector: creating more responsive, efficient and effective government.
Worldwide, local governments spend over $4.5 trillion a year on goods and services to meet the needs of their citizens. City officials often rely on a small network of vendors to deliver the specific good or service they believe they need for their communities -- often limiting the number of new ideas up for consideration.
Citymart sees greater opportunity and cost savings for local government through problem-based procurement, where cities focus on a problem first and ask small businesses and entrepreneurs for ideas on how to solve that problem.
Since 2011, the company claims it has helped some 60 cities in 25 countries improve more than 100 procurements, from reducing electricity use in public housing in New York City to enabling the elderly to live independently in Sheffield, UK.
"Citymart is more than a platform -- it’s fundamentally changing the way city governments solve problems and improve the quality of life for all citizens," said Stacy Donohue, investment partner at Omidyar Network. "What we find most promising about this company is the way it is helping cities rethink the way they address the procurement process for city services which will enable better services to more people at lower cost."
According to Citysmart, as the approach gains traction, cities have continually increased their commitment. In October this year, Dublin City Council awarded a comprehensive multi-year framework contract for problem-based procurement services to the company to support its Smart Dublin agenda.
"We are excited about the support of such visionary civic tech investors. This investment allows us to build out our platform and meet the growing demand in many cities, at scale, to use public procurement to meet the needs of their communities," added Sascha Haselmayer, CEO of Citymart.
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