- Leading Cities is launching a global startup competition around smart cities challenges, offering potential capital and mentorship from investors and experts in the field.
- The AcceliCITY competition is meant to connect startup ideas with business users and urban leaders that can work on deployment. Semifinalists will receive a month-long virtual mentorship program, with finalists going to a boot camp in Boston in the fall of 2018. Winners will be showcased at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Spain in November.
- The program will include a clean energy track, with a dedicated incubation space in Massachusetts. The track will focus on projects that will integrate renewable energy into the grid or reduce the use of energy from non-renewable sources.
As cities search for solutions from smaller tech startups, competitions like AcceliCITY can help bridge the gap between the public and private sectors. Not only will urban leaders get more exposure to ideas from the tech industry, but the startups will get mentoring on how their ideas can be best applied on the city level.
Michael Lake, founder and CEO of Leading Cities, said in a statement that cities are “finding it a challenge to identify and properly vet these new technologies” and that the competition will provide “a common ground for growth by matching entrepreneurs with expert mentors, understanding best practices for doing business with governments and gaining access to investment funding.”
Similar competitions have found success on the local level. One sponsored by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership awarded $5,000 in cash and legal services to a property management software program that can help managers and renters. Georgia Tech launched one with the partnership of local power and business groups, which focused around smart mobility and resilience.
By having a global perspective, the AcceliCITY can bring in ideas from around the world and increase collaboration among cities worldwide. By having a dedicated track for clean energy, the competition will also help cities target solutions to limit their climate impact, a key goal around the world as cities try to uphold the terms of the Paris climate change agreement.