- Comcast and Semtech will be the first corporate partners for City Innovate’s Startup in Residence program, the companies announced this week.
- The program connects startups with city government agencies for a 16-week partnership to develop products and services that use the Internet of Things (IoT) to help solve urban problems.
- "Innovation has touched every part of our lives, and city governments need long range, low power solutions to create smarter cities," Marc Pegulu, vice president and general manager of the Wireless and Sensing Products Group at Semtech, said in a statement.
As cities innovate, government and business leaders have spoken repeatedly about the need for the public and private sectors to work together, either through formal public-private partnerships (P3s) or on a more informal basis. Work has already begun in a similar vein in Canada’s Ontario and Quebec provinces on a P3 to promote 5G technology test beds.
And there have already been moves to engage with startups beyond this program, including in New York with New York University’s Urban Future Competition and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s Make It In Brooklyn pitch contest for startups. Brooklyn-based startup accelerator URBAN-X has also played a similar role to the Startup in Residence program by equipping its fourth cohort of companies to develop smart city-related products and solutions.
These programs all aim to engage the private sector to help solve issues that face cities, including traffic congestion, parking, emissions reduction, waste management and making street lights smarter. With municipal budgets under growing strain, it is important for businesses to be brought into the process more, and, as City Innovate Executive Director Jay Nath put it in a statement, "empower our government partners to imagine new solutions to the urgent challenges facing cities."