UPDATED, Sept. 20, 2019: Washington, DC-based app How’s My Driving, which aims to empower pedestrians and bicyclists to report dangerous driving, took the top prize at the final pitch event for US Ignite and Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Smart City Startup Accelerator program.
The company won $50,000 in Amazon credits to help further develop its product. Second-placed Enpira, a Durham, NC startup that provides energy management solutions for municipal utilities and local government, won $35,000 in Amazon credits.
Third-placed Helix Health LLC of Kansas City, MO won $25,000 to support its efforts to incorporate real-time data analytics into healthcare workflows.
- Nonprofit smart city organization US Ignite announced it has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and business education group Kauffman FastTrac to launch its Smart City Startup Accelerator program.
- The program will enable developers to launch a cloud-based business or service that helps solve problems in cities. It will offer an eight-week online training course, $10,000 in AWS credits and other benefits. Organizers said ideal candidates will develop programs around streamlining city services; providing workforce development; autonomous vehicles (AVs); cybersecurity; sensors; and data analysis.
- Applications are open until May 31, with participants set to present ideas in September at Amazon's offices in Washington, DC.
This latest initiative builds on the work US Ignite does through its Smart Gigabit Communities program, which has almost 30 member cities in North America. Each Smart Gigabit Community receives access to a low-latency, ultra-fast network with local cloud computing and storage capabilities, and this new accelerator builds on that as it encourages developers to use the cloud to help manage obstacles in cities.
Accelerator programs often help urban-focused startups get off the ground and sustain themselves. This program shares similarities with the startup accelerator URBAN-X in Brooklyn, NY, which recently graduated its fifth cohort of startup companies.
If cities are to solve the myriad problems that they face, including on mobility, equity and housing affordability, they will need to engage even more with the private sector and with early-stage companies that use innovative techniques.
With the clout of AWS, this accelerator could help cities achieve their goals and give backing to startups.