South African venture capital firm Imvelo Ventures, founded by Capitec Bank and Empowerment Capital Investment Partners, has invested in Acumen Software, a company that is revolutionising the interaction between South Africans and their municipal service providers.
Funding from Imvelo, which identifies and funds promising South African small and medium enterprises (SMMEs) across the broad spectrum of financial technology, and Sappi’s Andzani Ventures, has enabled the development of My Smart City, a platform for city residents to report service delivery issues, track reported matters, and mobilise fellow community members.
Johannesburg and Cape Town are the first two cities with access to Phase One of the free mobile and desktop-based platform that allows citizens to report potholes, monitor power and water outages, communicate with local municipal officials, raise a petition, and much more. The platform is available on Android, iOS, and on the web at www.mysmart.city.
“My Smart City is giving South Africans a voice to see the resolution of service delivery issues and to allow them to view issues and log incidents, prioritise them and connect the right service providers to resolve them. We believe that the platform has the potential to UBER-ise service delivery by putting the power in the hands of the residents who use the platform. In time, the platform will also create jobs for thousands of citizens and private contractors,” says Joao Zoio, chief executive officer and co-founder of Acumen Software.
The My Smart City platform has already been integrated into the City of Cape Town’s call management system and intends to connect to all municipal systems to enable the automation of information flows from city residents.
Where the platform has not been granted access to interface with municipal systems, Acumen Software’s dispatch centre team will become the conduit between citizens and their municipalities to ensure that all issues are appropriately logged and tracked.
Anton Baumann, executive director of Empowerment Capital and Imvelo, says their investment is backing disruptive technology that is created by a passionate and highly experienced team. “There is a real need for this kind of technology to improve South Africans lives for the better by cutting-edge innovation.”
Acumen Software has a strong track record in several South African cities through its Mobile Field Service ERP Management SaaS Solution, Forcelink. Forcelink is used by the City of Cape Town to manage the MyCiTi Bus infrastructure as well as by the City of Johannesburg’s City Power to manage outages and maintenance work on their electricity network. My Smart City is also powered by Forcelink, which has over 100 customers and over 120,000 registered users.
“With the My Smart City platform we are leveraging our Forcelink B2B Mobile Field Services ERP Solution backbone to offer the public a B2C communal platform. The platform will allow citizens, city officials, councillors, and service providers to engage in a safe and controlled environment, with the sole purpose of improving services in the city,” says Kennedy Mogotsi, chief operations officer of Acumen Software.
Forcelink has extensive APls (Application Programming Interface) to easily interface with other systems such as ERPs, CRMs, Accounting systems, Project Management, equipment monitoring with SCADA, IoT, etc. Forcelink has a certified standard interface with SAP.
“My Smart City is an extension to Forcelink, which is a well-established software platform that was created because we saw a desperate need in the South African market for a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Mobile Field Services ERP Management Solution that could scale from SMMEs to large multi-nationals. Being a SaaS solution means that My Smart City is backed by a system that offers real benefits that non-digital solutions just cannot offer,” explains Mogotsi.
The platform is set to forever change the way how people engage, communicate with, and hold their city’s service providers accountable. In time, residents will be able to source private services, manage crowd-funding initiatives and gain access to community social and sporting events.
My Smart City now calls on all Johannesburg and Cape Town residents to register and create profiles on the platform and to invite family, friends and neighbours to join them in becoming active citizens with strong voices. The more subscribers the platform has, the greater the power of residents to affect change and improvements in their cities.