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UrbanLeap Raises $4.2M, Launches Tool to Find Pilot Projects

The startup's new Discover tool is a way for public-sector employees to search for tests other governments have run on technology and policies, and to connect them with each other so as to share their knowledge.

UrbanLeap's new Discover feature
UrbanLeap, the startup that helps government run pilot projects, has raised $4.2 million from investors and launched a new “knowledge base” to help users explore what other organizations are doing.

The knowledge base, called Discover, is essentially a searchable database of pilot tests that public-sector agencies across the country have run. Arik Bronshtein, co-founder and CEO of the company, said it launched a few weeks ago with a focus on transportation.

But with cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) rising, the company is building in a piece of Discover for people to share what they’ve tried to deal with the public health crisis as well. That could be a wide range of things, from libraries that want to provide more services people can access at home to building managers who want to help people avoid touching surfaces in bathrooms.

“It’s going to be groups of people with the same interests where they can share and learn in a very safe environment,” Bronshtein said.

Discover doesn’t just include new technology agencies have tried, but policies as well. UrbanLeap is software for managing those projects, handling their documentation and tracking performance indicators, so some of the data comes from governments that have opted to share those details. Other data comes from vendors and third-party databases that share with UrbanLeap.

“It’s not just a list of vendors,” he said. “It’s where it’s been implemented, contacts in those cities, pricing on those solutions and, actually, documents.”

So it’s not just about sharing information, but connecting people as well.

“From the platform, you can send a note… to those vendors and tell them that you are looking to pilot with them, and then you can get a proposal from those vendors,” Bronshtein said.

Bronshtein said the company is looking to use the funding round to expand its team and work with more government agencies. It currently works with about 50 customers, including San Mateo County, Calif., Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Urban Movement Labs in Los Angeles and Michigan’s PlanetM.

The funding round was led by StageOne Ventures, with participation from lool Ventures. One partner from each firm — Yoav Samet from StageOne and Yaniv Golan from lool — are joining UrbanLeap’s Board of Directors.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business 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.