- A new technology initiative in New York City, known as "The Grid," will look to help industries and businesses share ideas, build new partnerships and offer resources to help growth. The partnership is between the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and urban innovation nonprofit CIV:LAB.
- The Grid will consist of over 70 organizations from various industries, led by a steering committee of startup incubators, businesses and other organizations. It will look to help build organization’s networks; increase public awareness of urban technology; promote its innovations; and host events and tailored programs for the industry.
- “The Grid represents a promising new way for NYCEDC to work across sectors to strengthen collaboration and innovation, first in New York City and hopefully soon in many more cities across the country and around the world,” James Patchett, president and CEO of NYCEDC, said in a statement.
Organizers hope this new initiative will help foster community between tech companies, especially as they work to find solutions to some of the most pressing problems in cities. Patchett emphasized the need to include everyone in such a new initiative — as opposed to just the big tech giants — noting in a statement that The Grid “signals that New York City is leading with a new approach to technology and startup culture, with a real focus on diversity, inclusion, equity, and community.”
Connecting startups and companies involved in The Grid with funding and corporate sponsorship will be a major boost for those involved. NYCEDC said venture capital investment in urban technology has approached $80 billion in 2016, led by New York City, where the investment climate has been active and continues to grow. An initiative like The Grid, in addition to the already-existing ecosystem that supports startups, should help increase investment and help more startups get their good ideas off the ground.
"New York’s thriving urban technology community is a natural byproduct of what happens when you allow diversity, entrepreneurship and ambition to collide in one of the greatest cities in the world," Jeff Merritt, head of internet of things (IoT) and smart cities at World Economic Forum, a Grid Steering Committee Member, said in a statement.
As cities look to solve a wide range of issues, the startup and technology community has taken on an even greater importance, with the likes of startup accelerator URBAN-X playing a large role in working with early-stage companies to help get their ideas off the ground. Meanwhile, cities have looked to perform similar roles, with the Innovation Partnership Program helping startups in Kansas City, MO, while the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and New York University (NYU) have partnered on the Mayors Leadership Institute on Smart Cities to encourage collaboration at the mayoral level.