Remix Raises $10M, Sequoia Leads Series A Round

The transit planning company plans on using the money to help expand internationally.

by / May 10, 2017
A screenshot of Remix's transit planning platform. The drag-and-drop "Jane" tool shows how far a person could travel in a transit system from a given point in a given amount of time. Remix

Three years and 200 customers later, Remix is wrapping up its Series A funding round with $10 million in hand.

The company, which makes planning tools for transit agencies, is going to funnel that money into product development and a push to work more with customers outside the U.S.

“We have been doing a really good job here in the U.S., we have about 25 percent penetration,” Chief Marketing Officer John Eng said. “We think that in order to really complete our mission to make cities more livable, we’ve really got to go international.”

That market penetration in the U.S. includes some rapid growth as of late. According to Tiffany Chu, the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer, Remix’s revenue tripled in 2016. Most of that was from new customers.

Remix’s transit agency customers tend to include those that are actively seeking change, as well as those that already have a foot in the open data game, Chu said. The company’s planning tools lean on open data to help plan and add context to routes — for example, a planner looking at possible new routes can see existing routes, the number of people living nearby and how many of them are living in poverty.

“We’ve seen [it’s] most effective when there’s leadership at the agency who says, ‘We want to do a service expansion or a comprehensive service assessment, or some kind of strategic direction [toward] change,’ as opposed to preserving the status quo,” she said.

The company’s return on investment is folded into both improved functionality and more efficient work, Chu said. The platform is meant to bring together several different tools that planners use, and the company boasts a dramatic reduction in the time it takes for customers to complete projects. The company has also helped customers use the platform to present plans to citizens and bring information to planning boards.

“Before Remix, it was impossible to test out potential transit solutions in real time," said Todd Plesko, vice president of planning and development at Dallas Area Rapid Transit, in a press release. "With Remix, we can automatically visualize service and financial trade-offs and quickly evaluate how the proposed transit scenarios impact low-income and minority populations. The ability to easily explain the impact of prospective improvements has helped streamline the public approval process.”

Aside from its product, Chu said, the company has been pushing a customer success strategy that emphasizes onboarding and interagency collaboration.

“It wasn’t what we expected, but we find ourselves playing that facilitator role more and more often,” said Chu.

Because Remix has customers all across the country, she said, it keeps tabs on agencies that are doing similar things and connects them together when it makes sense. One recent example is the Northern Mariana Islands, where an agency is putting together a new transit system. Remix connected project officials there with another customer: Honolulu, which is in the midst of a light rail build.

Collaboration like that is somewhat hard to achieve, Chu said.

“I think it’s quite rare just because of how spread out our country is,” she said.

Sequoia Capital, which participated in the company’s seed round, was the lead investor in its Series A round. Sequoia partner Aaref Hilaly has also secured a spot on the company’s board. With previous funding from YCombinator, the Code for America Accelerator and SV Angel, Remix’s fundraising total is now at $12 million.

Remix was included in both the 2017 and 2016 GovTech 100, Government Technology's list of 100 companies that are focused on and making a difference in state and local governments.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information from Remix.

Ben Miller Staff Writer

Ben Miller is the business beat staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.