CityBase CEO Mike Duffy plugs in with technology to connect residents with municipalities

MikeDuffy
Mike Duffy feels that the more an automated platform frees up municipal employees from mundane tasks, “the more time they have to help people.” (Image: CityBase)

CEO Mike Duffy's startup CityBase has a simple premise: Make it easier for residents to navigate municipal payment systems to pay for services.  The company works with local governments and utilities to integrate all of their services onto a single SaaS-based platform.

CityBase helps residents find and pay for services through kiosks, phones, point of sales and online instead of calling in or waiting in line. “Most cities have some of them, but we provide all of them on one platform,” Duffy told FierceCEO.

The company develops technology, designs payment and communication channels, and aggregates operational data for municipalities, agencies and utilities based on academic research, design and data-driven analysis.

“I’m motivated to make a really measurable difference,” Duffy said. “The more time we free up staff, the more time they have to help people.”

CityBase was the brainchild of Duffy, who founded the company in 2013. It is venture backed, having raised its last round, $6.25 million in series B funding, in the summer of 2016. The funding was led by a $4 million investment by KDWC Ventures, LLC.

Using a cloud-based SaaS platform

CityBase's cloud-based SaaS platform integrates directly with local governmental agency databases and centralizes the customer interactions of multiple city agencies. The company’s products provide cities with comprehensive information about their operations and revenue collection, while providing citizens with a more unified and useful gateway to their government.

“CityBase was born to help local governments evolve their revenue collection and service delivery methods with the use of a SaaS-based technology platform that integrates and streamlines both city operations and the citizen experience,” said Duffy.

“Technology is unlocking the opportunity to give each citizen their own experience,” Duffy said. “It is also organizing the content, the services and the payment activity.”

Duffy has a background in entrepreneurship and finance, including time at Northern Trust managing assets in short term interest rate markets.

Diverse background

He said CityBase pulls together all his business interests: finance, behavioral economics and government.

“I hadn’t contemplated starting a business, but I took an entrepreneur class in graduate school and I was hooked,” Duffy said. “I’m motivated by making a really measurable difference.”

Different municipalities are at different stages of development. For instance, Chicago, which is pretty far along, is going to have a kiosk in every library, police station and alderman’s council, Duffy said.

“Our goal is to reach the most Americans we can and that involves reaching more counties and cities,” Duffy said. “CityBase is on a mission of how to make government more personal and responsive.”

Fast Five with Mike Duffy

When did you know you wanted to be a CEO?

I had to champion the vision.

What’s your favorite question to ask when at a job interview?

Why do you want to be in government?

What is the single most important trait of a leader?

Humility.

What is a key way of finding new revenue?

Do an amazing job for those we have signed on.

What do you know now that you wish you had known five years ago?

I wish I had been better equipped to tell my wife and four kids what this would entail.