Omidyar Network Announces Investment in Citymart to Disrupt Local Government Procurement

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Omidyar Network announced today that it has made a $500,000 investment in Citymart, a civic tech platform that helps city governments improve their procurement process by engaging the most innovative small businesses and entrepreneurs to solve local challenges.

The investment will help Citymart to develop its online platform that provides users a collaborative tool to capture ideas, develop solutions, conduct market research, and connect with the most innovative vendors to solve complex urban challenges. When better solutions are adopted by government, citizens benefit.

Worldwide, local governments spend over $4.5 trillion a year on goods and services to meet the needs of their citizens. City officials often rely on a small network of vendors to deliver the specific good or service they believe they need for their communities—often limiting the number of new ideas up for consideration.

Citymart sees a greater opportunity and cost savings for local government through problem-based procurement, where cities focus on a problem first and ask small businesses and entrepreneurs for ideas on how to solve that problem. Since 2011, the company has helped more than 60 cities in 25 countries improve more than 100 procurements—from reducing electricity use in public housing in New York City to enabling the elderly to live independently in Sheffield, UK.

As the approach gains traction, cities have continually increased their commitment to Citymart's approach. Only in October, Dublin City Council awarded a comprehensive multi-year framework contract for problem-based procurement services to Citymart to support its Smart Dublin agenda.

"We are excited about the support of such visionary civic tech investors. This investment allows us to build out our platform and meet the growing demand in many cities, at scale, to use public procurement to meet the needs of their communities," says Sascha Haselmayer, CEO of Citymart.

In addition to creating a more efficient, transparent and accountable procurement process, Citymart is helping drive forward one of the key objectives for the civic tech sector: creating more responsive, efficient and effective government.

"Citymart is more than a platform—it's fundamentally changing the way city governments solve problems and improve the quality of life for all citizens," says Stacy Donohue, investment partner at Omidyar Network. "What we find most promising about this company is the way it is helping cities rethink the way they address the procurement process for city services — which will enable better services to more people at lower cost." 

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $1 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Emerging Tech, Education, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork #PositiveReturns.

About Citymart

Citymart helps cities deliver impact by strengthening their innovation capacity and sharing inspiring solutions and methods to transform their communities. The problem-based procurement method, co-designed by Citymart and 60 cities worldwide, helps cities to create more local jobs, deliver better quality services and cut costs.