Melbourne-based urban-tech startup, Neighbourlytics has attracted the backing of property industry leader and RBA board member, Carol Schwartz AO, closing a $1.25M investment round to fuel the company’s growth.
Neighbourlytics is a SaaS social analytics platform that helps citymakers understand, measure and monitor the quality of urban life and wellbeing in the neighbourhoods they plan, create and manage. Their proprietary technology synthesises data from digital sources – from online restaurant reviews and event check-ins to crowdsourced data from public social media sites – to help governments, town planners, property developers and asset managers deliver better economic and social value in communities.
Co-founders Jessica Christiansen- Franks and Lucinda Hartley today announced the close of their oversubscribed seed round led by Schwartz’s Trawalla Group, and supported by Scale Investors, Artesian and a number of individual angel investors.
The growth funding will be used to fast-track development of new technology to help measure the wellbeing of neighbourhoods across the globe, through a world-first social analytics benchmarking tool for cities.
This new investment follows significant growth at Neighbourlytics over the past 12 months. The two-year-old company has:
- Created data for more than 500 neighbourhoods across ten different countries
- Currently boasts a global client list including 60+ of the world’s leading citymakers, governments and developers such as Gehl, Stockland, Frasers Property, Lend Lease, Queensland Government, Greater Sydney Commission and Government of Scotland.
“Neighbourlytics is tackling a key pressure point for an industry grappling with change. With almost 70% of the world’s population set to be living in cities by 2050, citymakers urgently need to better understand the people and places they are building for,” Christiansen-Franks said.
“We’ve had increasing international demand for our product over the past 12 months; evidence to the fact that citymakers want solid data to better understand not only the physical places they create, but the liveability and wellbeing of those neighbourhoods.
“Now, with the backing of an experienced group of investors, we are able to capitalise on this opportunity for impact and build the advanced analytics and product capability required to provide even deeper insights to inform placemaking decisions.
“We’re excited to be working with an industry leader in Carol Schwartz, and a group of investors who share our values, to transform cities and put people back at the centre of urban planning.”
The backing of Trawalla, Scale and Artesian reflects growing confidence in Australia’s urban-tech sector and the positioning of Neighbourlytics at the cutting edge of the industry.
The announcement comes soon after the release of New Zealand’s world-first “Wellbeing Budget” in May, signalling growing global focus on the measurement and tracking of wellbeing.
“Finding out what makes neighbourhoods tick is hard – it’s a major pain point for citymakers who are making huge investment decisions and only have a short window to get it right, ” Hartley said.
“Traditionally, cities have only measured physical attributes like traffic flow and building heights, but what people really care about is lifestyle and experience. The unique datasets produced by our platform offer a critical solution to this urgent global challenge.
“While there are many established tools for measuring what is going wrong in a location – such as homelessness, crime, illness and unemployment – the missing piece of the puzzle is a digital tool for measuring local strengths.
“International research has shown your postcode is more likely to determine your life expectancy than your genetic code. So the strengths of a place can be critical to our health and happiness. Our data provides a rare opportunity to understand those unique strengths of a neighbourhoods and how they influence the social wellbeing of its population.
“Our new benchmarking tools now under development will allow countries like New Zealand to build these insights into their wellbeing measurement, as we set new global standards for human-centric urban design.”
Trawalla Group Director, Carol Schwartz, who is also a board member for the Reserve Bank of Australia and the founding chair of Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, said Neighbourlytics is uniquely placed to have a significant impact on the cities of the future.
“Neighbourlytics is a game-changer for the property sector. Our industry is facing huge challenges as urban development continues to drive growth and citymakers grapple with the needs of rapidly changing communities,” Schwartz said.
“Jessica and Lucinda’s vision to create cities that people love and feel connected to has driven the development of their technology, which has the capability to transform citymaking around the world. Their mission is closely aligned with the values and objectives of Trawalla Group and we’re excited to be a part of this next phase of the company’s growth.”