Michael Jansen

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at Cityzenith

Michael Jansen is currently the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at Cityzenith, a tech company that helps city governments and businesses make sense of their data — big and small through cutting-edge technology such as Digital Twins and Big Data.


Michael Jansen is an impassioned architect, urbanist, and entrepreneur, and has founded and led high-growth companies in the U.S. and Asia for more than two decades.

Michael studied architecture at Yale and then Cambridge. In the early ’90s, right after graduation, he flew out to China and started with a major US architectural practice as a twentysomething junior project architect, being thrown on to massive Chinese urban-core regeneration projects that were twenty years too sophisticated for me. Throughout that experience, he learnt the inner workings of the city.

In 1999, Michael moved from China to India, which at that time was thought of as being the next China. He worked there for another major US practice until he decided to become an entrepreneur and started Satellier, a CAD-outsourcing business. That company started with Michael and four architects in the third bedroom of his apartment, in New Delhi. Five years later, the company grew to over 500 hundred people spread across five floors in two buildings, with Sequoia Capital as investors, and serving 30 of the top 50 AEC firms in the world. Satellite became the largest BIM-services company in the world at the time.

In 2007, they made a decision to acquire a company called Screampoint that had the beginnings of a technology they called 5D. Satellier bought the company in 2008 and Michael Jansen became chairman then and later took over the company as part-time CEO in 2010 and then full-time CEO in 2012. Since then, Michael has embarked on a personal mission to revolutionize the way we use data to transform the built environment the world over.

Michael Hanses has studied architecture at Yale and Cambridge and earned a Fulbright Scholarship, he worked as an architect in India and China for several years, leading the Asia practices of two major U.S. international architecture firms.

A husband and father of three, Michael speaks Chinese and Hindi, has travelled to over 90 countries, swims a lot, reads more political and science news than he should, and plays the guitar.

CEO of Cityzenith
As CEO of Cityzenith, Michael oversees the development of the set of solutions the company is working on. Especially important is their focus on Digital Twins technology. In that regard, the company has recently launched SmartWorldPro Version 2 Digital Twin technology, which aggregates, integrates, analyzes, and visualizes all project and property information on a single 3D platform.

Under Michael Jansen’s leadership, the SmartWorldPro platform currently supports more than two dozen major architectural design, building/infrastructure management, and smart city initiatives throughout the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Projects cover the full range from master plan developments to urban core regeneration projects, smart buildings, high-speed rail infrastructure, retail, corporate, healthcare, education, smart grid deployments, and even entire greenfield smart cities.


Michael has been featured on CNN, CNBC, the BBC, and in several major businesses, government, and AEC publications worldwide, Michael has received several awards for his work, including the “40 Under 40” accolade from Building Design + Construction. 

In 2014, Michael was honoured as a World Cities Summit Young Leader in Singapore for his lifelong contribution to improving sustainability and the quality of life in cities; and recently in 2019, he received a Chicago Innovation Award for his company’s groundbreaking work in the digital twin Arena.

In a recent interview, with Dinis Guarda, Michael Jansen said the following about their work at Cityzenith: 

“We’re a bit like Dropbox, so whatever, say, an architecture firm does with our model, we’ll never know. A lot of architecture firms have their own project data, but they don’t want their BIM models shown to everybody, especially while being designed. 

Having said that, the moment [a design] gets approved by the building department, we have a feature where every single building that is not only up but is coming up is also going to show up as a layer. So, if you’re designing a forty-story tower, you might want to look at that because you might find out that a few years from now there’s another tower coming up right across the street.”

Recognition and Awards
Honoured as a World Cities Summit Young Leader in Singapore for his lifelong contribution to improving sustainability and the quality of life


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Michael Jansen
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Architect, Urbanist, CEO
Architecture at Yale and Cambridge
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