LONDON — Citymapper, the transportation and city guide app, said it plans to start generating revenue in 2017.
CEO Azmat Yusuf said on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in London that “you’re going to see us in 2017 actually start making a business out of this.”
Yusuf didn’t explain exactly how his company is going to start generating revenue, but hinted that he could sell some of the company’s data collection and refinement tools to government agencies and cities.
“Our tools have a lot of value,” Yusuf said. “Some cities want to use our tools in order to create and fix data … If you really scale that out, if you think about the number of cities in the world, the number of agencies in the world, that have really ancient software systems they’re using, it’s like Windows from the nineties. They can use better tools there.”
“You’ll see us doing more with transport and data,” Yusuf said on stage. “What we have, which is really interesting and valuable, is information about mobility in a city.”
Up until now Citymapper hasn’t had any revenue. It is in 30 cities around the world and has brought in over $50 million (£39 million) in investment from investors including Index Ventures and Balderton Capital. Yusuf said many of his investors approached him, instead of the company actively courting investment. That was due to a desire not to “overcapitalise” the company, he said.
Citymapper has also avoided spending any money on marketing. “[We’ve] spent nothing on marketing,” Yusuf said. “We invested in servers and technology … Marketing is the product thus far. We haven’t spent anything. We could.”
Yusuf declined to say how many users the app has, despite repeated prompts from TechCrunch editor at large Mike Butcher. “Who knows” was Yusuf’s repeated response.
What about a sale, maybe to Google for $1 billion (£784 million)? Yusuf didn’t sound keen. “A billion? That’s boring,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to build something great and solve real problems, which we think we can, then why not do that? Isn’t that the whole point?”
How about $2 billion (£1.56 billion)? Again, Yusuf wasn’t keen. “Look at it this way: It’s harder to turn down £10 million than it is to turn down $1 billion. There’s a point where it doesn’t matter anymore.”