STiR Startup Raises $4M to Make Regulations Machine-Readable
January 22, 2019. The company, Symbium, operates on the concept of “computational law” – that regulations and laws can be translated so that computers can work with them just like any other data. It got its start in planning and zoning.
Symbium secures $4 million in Series Seed financing round led by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
The Startup Disrupting Bureaucracy through Computational Law
SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 22, 2019 – Symbium Corp., the Computational Law company, announced a $4 million Series Seed round of financing led by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (HWVP). This investment will help Symbium expand its services in cities and counties across California. Mitchell Kertzman, former CEO of Sybase and current Managing Director at HWVP, will join Symbium's Board of Directors.
The key to Symbium's business is Computational Law (Complaw), an innovative technology based on the codification of laws and regulations in computable form. Just as TurboTax has the tax code built in, Symbium's Complaw-enabled applications have rules and regulations built right in. Such applications provide users with instant legal feedback on their requests and thereby eliminate much of the slow and expensive manual post-processing of those requests.
Until now, the development of Complaw systems using traditional development stacks has been costly and time-consuming. Regulations and policies often change, resulting in high maintenance costs. To combat these problems, the Symbium team developed a platform that enables the accelerated and lightweight development and maintenance of web-based Complaw systems at scale.
While Symbium's technology is applicable to multiple market verticals, the company is going to market in the largest and most underserved vertical – government. According to Mitchell Kertzman, “The public-sector market has been content with the status quo in technology for far too long. We believe that Symbium's Computational Law technology holds the key to unlocking efficiency in the way governments, citizens and businesses interact with each other. We are proud to lead Symbium's first fundraising round.”
The company's inaugural launch was with San Francisco's Planning Department at the Bridge SF Summit in May 2018. With feedback from the Planning Department, Symbium developed a constituent-facing Zoning Check Service that streamlines the path that business owners must take to open their businesses — from figuring out where in the City it is permitted to open their business to navigating the application process. According to Elizabeth Watty, the Deputy Director of Current Planning in San Francisco's Planning Department, “Symbium has taken the initiative to understand current bottlenecks within the planning process and has worked alongside us to build a custom web-based solution that will enable constituents to obtain instant answers to their zoning inquiries without having to manually navigate the complex Planning Code.”
Symbium recently expanded its product offering with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Service. ADUs (also known as granny flats, in-law units) are viewed a key weapon for combating California's housing crisis. Symbium's ADU Service empowers homeowners to quickly assess if it is feasible to develop an ADU on their property and makes it easier for local governments to review the resulting permit applications.
Symbium's CEO, Leila Banijamali, has a bold vision, “The rise of regulation-enabled web applications signifies an inflection point in the evolution of the web, radically transforming the way individuals and organizations and government agencies interact with each other. Our Zone Check and ADU Services are but two small steps towards the widespread adoption of Computational Law.”
Founded in 1989, HWVP pioneered the idea of a venture capital firm investing exclusively in enterprise software companies. From their earliest funds focused on the disruptive shift away from mainframes to client/server computing, through the commodity-driven cloud data centers of today, they have remained true to their software-only roots. For more information, visit http://hwvp.com.