- A property management software company, Bixby, won the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s Make It in Brooklyn pitch contest for startups that work to improve urban infrastructure and create smarter cities. Bixby won $5,000 cash and in-kind legal services from the Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic, and the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School.
- Bixby beat out four finalists for the prize: CARMERA, a road and traffic pattern tracker; GoKid, which provides carpool solutions for schools, teams and families; landfill food waste elimination company Hylas; and NGEMS, which provides sensing technology for emergency personnel. More than 50 startups responded to a call for proposals.
- "The start-ups competing were a clear demonstration of the exciting innovation and growing need for smart city technology in places like New York City," Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer said in a statement.
The 10th Make It in Brooklyn contest is the continuation of similar competitions where startups compete for cash prizes and other perks as they pitch their ideas to a wider audience. Earlier this year, three companies won cash prizes and office space in New York University’s Urban Future Competition. In that contest, as with this one in Brooklyn, a panel of judges was made up of industry experts and academics.
Such contests focus on partnerships and engaging the private sector to find solutions to cities’ problems, and this was no different. In a press release announcing the winner, organizers said the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership “partners with start-ups looking to pilot their smart city technology in Downtown Brooklyn to solve operational challenges and quality of life issues.”
And Bixby, which looks to make it easy for property managers by streamlining communication, work-orders, and payments, while providing a virtual amenity for tenants and residents, could be helpful in an area of the city which has seen enormous population growth in recent years.
More and more challenges, such as the Smart Infrastructure Challenge by Venture Smarter and the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, have launched this year alone. As cities look to use technology and innovations from the business community, these contests represent an opportunity for the private and public sectors to show each other what they can do and test new ideas.