UPDATED, May 21, 2019: The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Network (DEC) unveiled six early-stage companies that will participate in the city's inaugural Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator program. The companies include CityFront, OrgCentral, Planet Alpha Corp, RedHouse, Stroll and The Virtual Wild.
During a six-month program, the companies will receive mentorship, education, programming assistance, networking assistance and access to capital from founding corporations including AT&T and Microsoft. The program will begin in June.
DEC said Innov8te will also house a "Startup City Hall" with an office dedicated to city leaders, enabling them to work closely with the companies to discuss how their innovations and solutions can address city needs.
- The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Network (DEC) is launching a smart cities incubator in Dallas’ West End, in collaboration with AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft and the University of Texas at Dallas, among others.
- The Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator will support early-stage companies and highlight the full ecosystem of companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth region working on everything from data analytics to internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
- Participating startups will receive education programs, mentorship, product and service programming and access to capital channels. The incubator will also host events open to the public.
The incubator builds on other smart cities pilots that Dallas has been running to test the viability of new technology. The West End neighborhood — which will host the Innov8te incubator — houses a “Living Lab” that has tested nine smart cities projects across four blocks, including interactive kiosks, smart parking infrastructure, air quality sensors and smart lighting. A report from the Dallas Innovation Alliance found the project brought a 13% increase in foot traffic and a 12% boost in business revenue.
Innov8te will lend its backing to similar projects, and help homegrown companies get a leg up in Texas and elsewhere. Other cities have targeted similar incubator spaces to foster startups; just last week, a tech initiative known as “The Grid” launched in New York City to offer small companies connections to the rest of the city’s tech industry. They have the added benefit of giving cities and partners access to technology being developed at home.
The DEC’s partnership with private giants inlcuding AT&T (which sponsored the city's "Living Lab"), Microsoft and local universities will give an even bigger boost to participants.