​Strong investment sees NZ software startup enter European smart cities market

Wellington-based employees involved in helping deliver the smart cities solution.

New Zealand-founded software startup ThunderMaps has secured $1.5 million of European investment as it prepares to enter the smart cities market on the Continent.

Developing software targeted towards improving health and safety in organisations, and communication tools for governments and organisations, ThunderMaps has now launched its European base in Sweden, focused on smart cities software.

As a result, the growing company now operates across 20 countries, with offices in New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom, working with organisations such as Downer, The Morgan Foundation, and Forest and Bird.

The European office of ThunderMaps has won a European Commission innovation grant meaning the company can now develop a solution to improve the way public authorities including councils communicate with their citizens.

The European Commission recently selected ThunderMaps as a grant recipient in its Horizon 2020 programme, awarding $1.25 million to help fund the solution development after issuing a call for innovative companies with solutions in the mobile e-government area.

“There is huge room for improvement in the way public authorities connect with their communities,” says Mike Steere, Director, ThunderMaps Sweden.

“Our technology enables location-specific mobile communication of open data, news and alerts from multiple authorities.

“It can receive reports and requests from residents, and vital information in times of emergency can also be communicated.

“The end result is a better user experience for citizens, cost savings & efficiency gains for the authorities, and improved community awareness about important issues.

“Being selected by the European Commission in this prestigious programme gives us an excellent platform to enter the European market - where many public organisations are eager to improve citizen engagement and increase efficiency.”

In addition to the European Commission funding, Swedish businessman Lars Appelstål has announced plans to invest in the project.

Appelstål was a founder of ReadSoft, a successful financial process automation provider, which was recently sold to Lexmark for over US$250 million.

Closer to home ThunderMaps is rapidly expanding its health and safety offerings in the New Zealand marketplace and continues to release updates to its location aware, mobile reporting tool.

“New Zealand has a shocking rate of workplace injuries, and we are proud to continue to support businesses in their efforts to create a proactive reporting culture with regards to hazards, risks, and injuries in the workplace,” adds Clint Van Marrewijk, founder and Managing Director, ThunderMaps.