Citymapper Crowdfunding

Not really a crowdfunding investor usually, but this has me tempted.


I wonder what their business model is? It’s an excellent app, but I’m not sure on how they are / will make money.

Interesting, and I’ll definitely take a look at the pitch deck when it’s out.

From Crowdfunding | Citymapper

  • “We have both consumer and enterprise business models. On the consumer side our business includes Pass (mobility subscription), Club (feature subscription), and Affiliate (promoting other private transport apps). On the enterprise side we license our world-leading technology, such as routing and transport data, through APIs and SDKs, to other companies, operators and local authorities. We do not sell personal user data and respect the privacy of our users.”

I assumed they were making referral money when I noticed the first taxi company in the list changing sometimes. And ofc there’s been Pass for a while now, although I’ve never fully understood how they can sell it to me more cheaply than TfL and still make money.

I’ll def be investing a little. Probably the single best app I have on my phone imo.


Interesting - thanks for the find! I’m still not totally convinced though… (On the business case - I totally agree that it’s in my top apps!)

(Maybe a different topic, but there’s definitely a gap in the market for municipal / social / other forms of funding for startups. Citymapper is a good example of something that’s unequivocally good but might struggle to make the outsized returns that VCs and others want. There will be others And image if you wanted to start a building society for the digital age…)

Yeah, fair enough. I suppose what would be helpful to know is what proportion of their costs have been paid to date by funding vs actual revenue.

Obviously been going for a while now, since 2011. And have just massively expanded across both the UK and the US. So I certainly feel like they’re on the right trajectory? Obviously either making enough/keeping investors happy enough still.

Yeah agree with this tbh. As I understand it, big films (for example) get absolutely buckets of public money from arts councils etc, something like Citymapper is certainly up there on public good. I know very few people in London who would not be relying on it nearly every day of their lives pre-pandemic (ovi that’s a young, mostly car-less demographic but still).

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My non-London public transport services would absolutely benefit from some Citymapper magic. The apps and navigation for public transport outside of London are truly dire.

It’s all the more disappointing because the technology clearly exists already (Citymapper), and the imperative to decarbonise our lives is greater than ever. Despite this, my local buses still advertise contactless payments like they’re a novel feature, and predicting the arrival of the next bus is more art than science.

This doesn’t mean Citymapper are guaranteed to make money, but the gap in the market exists.


Totally agree with this.

I think the conundrum that’s in my head is that Citymapper is an example of an excellent app that is part of the digital infrastructure in London - and potentially should be across the nation - but I’m not sure just how profitable that would be. And, as we’ve seen with Facebook, the drive for profitability can really ruin what’s a decent idea. Alternatively, what are the compromises and the trade-offs to make Citymapper profitable? Would we still want to use it?

I think it’s this in a nutshell. :arrow_up:

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Part of the reason could be that as TfL aren’t a commercial company, they can allow companies to use the data as a public good, rather than a revenue stream.


Yeah think this is probs quite important.

Hopefully citymapper will keep expanding in the UK :crossed_fingers: already pretty impressive as of recently

And it’s not just cities themselves now but surrounding areas in some places.

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Government is trying to address this…

… but operators do still seem to guard “their” data jealously.

Even though Citymapper advertise their product as a pass it’s actually a PAYG card - some of their customers will use it less while others will hit the weekly TfL caps… and they collect the data which they will hope to moneytise

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The Government had a Future Fund as part of its Covid response which did something like this.

Though, Citymapper has raised VC Capital before - the last funding came in 2020:

What is the valuation?
The price will be the same as our 2020 financing. Crowdfunding investors in 2021 get the benefit of the same price as institutional investors in 2020.

It will be interesting to see their pitch - they had planned to crowdfund last year (before Covid) and that were also up for sale.

Given Google/Apple Maps keep improving, it will be interesting how Citymapper plan to compete

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Ah interesting…so is the suggestion that they’re making enough off those who don’t max it out to cover those who do?

Because it’s significantly cheaper than the corresponding weekly travelcard and/or cap for me. Zone 1-2 Citymapper for £33, but TfL travelcard/cap for £37.

And I appreciate it is basically, if not exactly, the same price as the monthly TfL, but obviously you keep the flexibility of starting/stopping on a weekly basis.

I would personally say that neither of Google/Apple Maps is anywhere near the level of info/usabillity that Citymapper currently offers. Feel like they’d need huge upgrades to even get close, let alone actually challenge Citymapper.

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No, but that will be part of their business case. They will also have deals with various firms (taxis, Lime, car sharing firms etc) if you book via the app and they obviously hope you will go for the their “Super Duper” pass not their standard one.

Most of all though, they get more data on traveling patterns etc which they can then sell.

I’ve worked with these in the past. Citymapper doesn’t actually get any specific usage data from the Pass card. Just like your bank doesn’t if you use a contactless card for travelling. All they see is the monetary value of your travel.

Even if they did, it wouldn’t be worth much more than the aggregate data they already have.

Facebook only makes around $50 revenue per user per year in Europe, and they know much more about you than Citymapper.


Fascinating. I presume it’s much more in the States / before GDPR?

Citymapper’s pitch deck / financials will be fascinating.

Have any of you seen anything approaching an investment prospectus? Most crowdfunding companies publish these ahead of the round, so investors can make informed decisions based on business plan and valuation. I haven’t seen anything.

I really like what they’ve done, and am tempted to invest. They’re clearly a leader within their industry, but if their valuation unreasonable, or their business plan doesn’t appeal to me, I wouldn’t want to invest.

Quite often with Crowdcube, you have to move fast, so if they only publish then, there’ll be insufficient time to read the material before investing (when I invested in Monzo’s first round, they published all the details well in advance, and I invested within 27 seconds of it going live).

Grateful if you’d please let me know if you’ve seen anything online!

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I haven’t either.

In fact, I’m growing a bit tired of / concerned about companies that crowdfund from their users, often without giving any meaningful financial information whilst putting potential investors under time pressure. And that’s even before you get to the (more often than not) lack of shareholder updates if you do decide to invest.

This all stems from companies seeing crowdfunding as marketing rather than investment, I think. And it has to stop.


Agreed. If they’re not sharing details in advance, it’s a little dubious. They’ve just announced they’ve secured EIS funding. However, still not provided any details :slightly_frowning_face:


Their emails are bordering on coercive. “The investment goes live at 11am, we recommend being ready to invest quickly” - “by the way £40m of interest already registered” (I’m paraphrasing before anyone fact checks me…)

I.e. hit the invest button before you read thoroughly, research and contemplate.

Smacks of desperation if you ask me, and surprised Crowdcube/the FCA don’t pick up on it.