Tim Draper, a pivotal early investor in Tesla, through Draper Associates, has made a significant investment in Citix, a pioneering Smart City and Advertising Technology company based in Kazakhstan. The investment was made at an impressive valuation of 98 million USD, with the amount invested being 1 million USD. Draper Associates also holds the option to further increase its equity stake in the company.

Tim Draper shared his enthusiasm about the investment, stating, “Citix can transform cities, bringing people together for events, alerting citizens about goings on, and even provide security, Wi-fi, and additional services call from a small footprint. Citix is for smart government.”

Citix positions itself at the forefront of urban technological innovation, with a declared mission to revolutionise public spaces. The company has ingeniously merged smart city solutions with out-of-home advertising technology into a singular product, introducing the market to its first urban gadget – the smartboard. This device is designed to gather and analyse external data, subsequently streaming content that is navigational, social, entertaining, and promotional in nature.

The Citix ecosystem comprises a variety of gadgets, including Tom for transport, Jerry for pedestrian use, and Shark for mobile application. These devices are powered by proprietary software and hardware, incorporating blockchain technology for enhanced functionality. All smartboards are interconnected through the Citix Panel, a centralised platform for remote content management.

Citix envisions its smartboards as a novel medium for interaction amongst cities, their inhabitants, and businesses.

Having established a network of gadgets across Kazakhstan and becoming a leader in the Digital Out-of-Home market locally, Citix has expanded into Turkey and the MENA region and is now making strides in the US market.

Tim Draper’s backing marks the first instance of US investment in Citix, spotlighting Draper’s knack for identifying promising technology ventures, as evidenced by his early stakes in Tesla, Skype, SpaceX, and Robinhood. Draper’s encounter with Citix occurred during the Draper University Hero Training accelerator program, which later facilitated Citix’s introduction to US investors through a partnership with Astana Hub, a central Asian IT startup tech park. This collaboration marked a significant milestone for Kazakhstan’s IT sector, drawing US investment for the first time.

Bakhtiyar Kubessov, co-founder and CBDO of Citix, expressed his excitement about the partnership with Tim Draper: “We couldn’t be more inspired by our partnership with Tim Draper, such an experienced investor. His presence not only adds extra motivation to our team but also reaffirms the significance of our mission – redefining public space. With confidence and ambition, backed by Tim, we aim to enhance public spaces for all.”

In an effort to showcase Central Asia as a unified region in the US, the Silkroad Innovation Hub was inaugurated in San Francisco. This initiative aims to forge ties between Central Asia and Silicon Valley, promoting talent from Kazakhstan and neighbouring Turkic nations. Citix, as a leading figure of the Hub and a graduate of Google for Startups and Draper University, recently made a notable appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, securing the “Best Speaker” award.

Yana Shoibekova, founder and CEO of Citix, commented on the potential of Central Asia in the global tech scene: “Central Asia has something to offer to the Silicon Valley investors and the international technology market. We are sure that interest in Citix will result in investment in other promising IT projects of this region.”