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Zencity raises $13.5 million to help cities aggregate community feedback with AI and big data

Zencity, a platform that meshes AI with huge knowledge to offer municipalities insights and aggregated suggestions from native communities, has raised $13.5 million from a slew of notable backers, together with lead investor TLV Partners, Microsoft’s VC arm M12, and Salesforce Ventures.

Gathering knowledge by means of conventional means, reminiscent of surveys or Town Hall conferences, is usually a gradual and time-consuming course of and fails to consider evolving sentiment. Zencity allows native governments and metropolis planners to extract significant knowledge from a spread of unstructured knowledge sources — together with social networks, information web sites, and even phone hotlines — to determine what matters and considerations are on native residents’ minds — all in actual time.

Zencity makes use of AI to kind and classify knowledge from throughout channels to establish key matters and tendencies, from opinions on proposed visitors measures to complaints about sidewalk upkeep or just about anything that impacts a group.

Above: Zencity platform in use

Founded in 2015, Israel-based Zencity had beforehand raised round $eight million, together with a $6 million tranche almost two years in the past. With its newest money injection, the corporate will construct out “new strategic partnerships” and increase its market presence.

Zencity mentioned it has seen a rise in demand throughout the pandemic, with 90% of its shoppers participating on a weekly foundation, and even on weekends.

“Since COVID-19, not only have we seen an increase in usage but in demand as well,” cofounder and CEO Eyal Feder-Levy advised VentureBeat. “Zencity has signed over 40 new local governments, reaffirming our role in supporting local governments’ crisis management and response efforts.”

Among these new partnerships are authorities businesses in Austin, Texas; Long Beach, California; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A lot of municipalities additionally launched COVID-19 applications utilizing the Zencity platform, together with town of Meriden in Connecticut, which used Zencity data to optimize communications round social distancing in native parks. Officials found destructive sentiment round the usage of drones to observe crowds in parks and observed that communications from the mayor’s official channels acquired essentially the most engagement from residents.

Elsewhere, authorities officers in Fontana, California used Zencity to evaluate locals’ opinions on lockdown restrictions and laws.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, providing real-time resident feedback for local governments was core to Zencity’s AI-based solution,” Feder-Levy continued. “And now, as local governments continue to battle the pandemic and undertake the task of economic recovery, Zencity’s platform has proven pivotal in their crisis response and management efforts.”

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