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Novoville: powerful cities, empowered citizens

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“Our mission is to help make citizen voices heard, and government services more citizen-centric,” says Iraklis Bourantas, COO and co-founder of Novoville.

Novoville was founded in 2016 in response to the growing need for more participatory, accountable, transparent, efficient and inclusive local governance. As Iraklis explains, it all started - like many companies - with a personal frustration: “Like so many people in Athens, we were frustrated by simple things like seeking information or reporting a broken bench… Initially we set up a problem reporting tool. We tried it, tested it, re-designed it, re-worked it…and within 3 years it grew, we added more functionalities and here we are today. The municipality of Athens is now one of our biggest clients…”

Novoville is a comprehensive citizen engagement platform for local governments that covers all sorts of services such as e-frontdesk services, consultation and communication, payments and smart parking. “You can request a birth certificate, pay a parking ticket or utility bills or report problems,” Iraklis says, “and the authorities can use the service to communicate with citizens. If the municipality has an important message to send to its residents for example, like a road closure, it can do so instantly using the app, or by sms or email – depending on how the citizen wants to be reached. Obviously GovTech is a difficult field, with complex procurement issues and political pressures. It’s not easy to disrupt it. But when we are able to show results, and the wow-factor comes into play, things change,” he adds. “People ask themselves ‘really? In my municipality?’ and they feel a sense of local pride. This boosts engagement.”

Where more traditional consultation exercises can only garner a few dozen responses, Novoville’s user-centric approach and effective outreach efforts can get several thousand replies – in a fraction of the time. “It brings the citizen and local authorities closer together. It saves paper, man-hours and frustration. Ultimately, it optimises workflows and increases engagement, which can only be a good thing, but it also gives citizens a feeling that they are able to participate and influence things around them.”

In November 2018, Novoville closed a second round of funding which included an important investment from Uni.Fund and Venture Friends, both venture capital firms backed by the EIF. This funding allowed Novoville to boost R&D, doubling its personnel, and focus on sales and market expansion – particularly in the UK – as the company now starts to scale up operations. “Most of our work right now is in the UK and Greece – with 45 municipalities already using our products. But we’re running pilot projects in Belgium and Switzerland, two countries with very different realities at the level of local government. We’re looking to expand, but at the same time, we’re also trying not to bite off more than we can chew,” he adds.

If things go to plan, you might find yourself receiving an sms from your municipality telling you to “please move your car”. Assuming, that is, that they opt for warning before the fine… And don’t say you never park badly.

CompanyNovoville

Type of business: ICT

EIF financing: Equifund

Financial intermediary: Uni.Fund , Venture Friends 400W

For further information abiout EIF intermediaries in Greece, please refer to:
http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/el

 

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