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Applications Open for Smart Columbus Startup Accelerator

Brent Warren Brent Warren Applications Open for Smart Columbus Startup Accelerator
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A Silicon Valley think tank will bring a ten-week startup accelerator program to Downtown Columbus in the fall, the latest in what has been a steady stream of announcements in recent months from the Smart Columbus team.

Singularity University announced the program today, to be called the Smart City Accelerator. It will be open to both local and national businesses, ranging from two-person startups to established corporations (who would be able to send a small team).

Only ten businesses will be selected to take part in the program, which will run from September 12th to November 17th. The selected applicants will be eligible to receive up to $100,000 in funding from Columbus-based venture capital firm NCT Ventures.

“The SU Smart City Accelerator will attract innovators from around the world and amplify the successes Columbus already has achieved in becoming recognized as a global center of technology and innovation,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther in a press release.

“We are committed to giving the innovators and entrepreneurs who participate in this world-class accelerator program full access to our community as a living laboratory so that we can learn together what business models and technologies are going to make our cities better in the future for all people,” added Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership.

The program will be housed at 107 S. High St., with the selected businesses receiving access to co-working space in the building.

The website for potential applicants lists five broad areas of focus for businesses looking to participate:

  • Mobility (including logistics and automated vehicles)
  • Connectivity (including wireless and satellite technologies)
  • Data/Analytics (including artificial intelligence and machine learning)
  • Infrastructure/Energy (including battery technology, charging stations, and “alternative propulsion systems”)
  • Manufacturing/Production (including 3D printing and micro-manufacturing)

“When Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge, Singularity University wanted to be part of – and contribute to – the innovation ecosystem here,” said Nick Davis, Singularity University Vice President of Corporate Innovation.

The accelerator marks Singularity’s first long-term program outside of its home base in California.

The initial Smart City grant application had a relatively narrow focus – new technology would be used to improve access to transportation and to provide specific benefits for neighborhoods like Linden. Although those ideas are still being pursued, as more partners are brought in and more initiatives get placed under the Smart Columbus umbrella, the scope of the program has grown.

“This accelerator will empower entrepreneurs to leverage breakthroughs in technology, from autonomous vehicles to efficiencies made possible by object awareness, to enhance lives and improve standards of living,” said Rich Langdale, Managing Partner of NCT Ventures. “The Smart Cities initiative is more than a challenge. Civilization is at a turning point and Columbus has the opportunity to promote innovation and pioneer what it means to live in a smart city of the future.”

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