Azmat Yusuf grew up in Pakistan and Kuwait and has lived in New York, Singapore, and Washington without ever owning a car. But when he moved to London eight years ago to work at Google, he was flummoxed by the transit system, the maze of buses in particular. “I just thought, Why is it so hard to figure out?” he says. He decided to build an app to help himself out.
Yusuf started with Busmapper, which calculated the most efficient routes across town, and soon expanded it to include trains, subways, taxis, and bikes in its itineraries. Today, about 20 million commuters in 39 cities around the world use the app, renamed Citymapper in 2011.
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ILLUSTRATION: SAM KERR FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK