Virginia launches nation's first business accelerator for smart city development

Dive Brief:

  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the launch of the Smart City Works Infrastructure Actuator, a business accelerator to boost the development of smart cities, as reported by
  • The program consists of a 90-day boot camp for chosen startups that will be mentored and given resources to test ideas. It ends with a demo day in front of investors and companies that might invest. Startups from four states and the District of Columbia make up the first cohort.
  • Companies like Infiniti and places like India are also starting up similar smart city labs and accelerators.

Dive Insight:

Smart City Works is calling their business actuator the first of its kind, however if the initial process is successful, it is likely that Virginia can be a model for other states looking to implement similar organizations . According to Washington Business Journal, Smart City Works will fund up to $50,000 per company, taking as much as 8% equity in each company.

The first cohort focuses on emerging products in transportation, resilience and public safety, or construction techniques. The chosen startups — including InfraccessCapital Construction Solutions and PlanIT Impact — are pursuing those areas with ideas from cybersecurity for coworking spaces, to platforms that will help design smart city projects. While the ideas are in the first stages of development, the accelerator aims to bring the ideas not only to a tangible state, but also to the attention of other smart city leaders seeking solutions to various obstacles.

The launch includes a partnership between Smart City Works and the Center for Innovative Technology, a nonprofit corporation focused on innovation and entrepreneurship for Virginia. 22 CityLink, the company behind Gramercy — Greater Washington's first smart city — is also involved.  The program is expected to move into Gramercy once it’s built, with future cohorts having direct access to its smart city functions.

Filed Under: Policy & Planning
Top image credit: Arlington County