Singularity University Launches Smart City Accelerator in Columbus, Ohio in Partnership with American Electric Power and NCT Ventures to Support Entrepreneurship

Each of Ten Selected Startups Will Be Eligible For up to $100,000 in Funding

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF., and COLUMBUS, Ohio – May 8, 2017 – Singularity University (SU), a global community with a mission to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges, today announced it is sponsoring a Smart City Accelerator, the first program of its kind, in Columbus, Ohio, the winning city of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The SU Smart City Accelerator will drive the next wave of innovation, providing participants with the exponential technologies, tools, global network of experts, mentors, and partners they need to ensure their nascent ideas and ventures for the smart city of the future come to market faster. The goal will be better functioning cities that transform how residents and communities work and live.  

The smart city-focused startup accelerator begins accepting applications May 15, 2017, and will bring innovators from around the globe to Columbus in September. The Singularity University Smart City Accelerator will be supported by SU in its first long-term program outside of Silicon Valley and sponsored locally by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and NCT Ventures. Each of the 10 selected businesses will be eligible to receive up to $100,000 in funding from NCT Ventures.

“The SU Smart City Accelerator will attract innovators from around the world and amplify the successes Columbus already has achieved in becoming recognized as a global center of technology and innovation,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “I view the SU Smart Cities Accelerator as a mutually supportive partner and participant of Smart Columbus, and I look forward to working with Singularity University on this transformative initiative.”

“When Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge, Singularity University wanted to be part of – and contribute to – the innovation ecosystem here,” said Singularity University Vice President of Corporate Innovation, Nick Davis. “One of the primary goals of Smart Columbus is to support the local entrepreneurial environment, expose local corporations and entrepreneurs to cutting-edge ideas from other cities, and provide the foundation for a sustainable link between Columbus and other innovation hubs across the world.”

Startups, ranging from early-stage companies with a working prototype of their products to those beginning to grow their revenue, can learn more and apply online at su.org/sca. Singularity University Accelerators are differentiated in the market by their focus on exponential thinking and technologies, as well as by the commitment SU makes to supporting innovation over the long term.

“We are committed to giving the innovators and entrepreneurs who participate in this world-class accelerator program full access to our community as a living laboratory so that we can learn together what business models and technologies are going to make our cities better in the future for all people,” said Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, representative of the region’s business leadership and the entity co-leading Smart Columbus alongside the City of Columbus. “There is unprecedented investment and commitment by local and national industry leaders to demonstrate in Columbus what the future can be for mid-size cities, the most prevalent city size in the world. We are proud to have SU joining the team as we embark on this journey.”

The SU Smart Cities Accelerator will choose 10 businesses focused on one or more of the following:

  • Mobility
  • Connectivity
  • Data and analytics
  • Infrastructure and energy
  • Manufacturing and production 

SU will provide help accessing  Singularity University faculty and programs, identify mentors from large companies and startups across the globe to provide expertise on industry and technology, and assign mentors to the team for which their expertise will be most valuable. Other sponsors will facilitate  web services, legal support, financial services, and tax planning for the ten businesses.

With Singularity University’s support, Columbus will have the opportunity to integrate West Coast innovation concepts into its existing networks. Over the past decade, business accelerator programs tailored to the unique strengths of a given community have emerged as key engines for generating innovation, new businesses and new jobs.

“Bringing the Singularity University (SU) Smart City Accelerator to Columbus is a catalyst for innovation and technology in Columbus, and AEP is proud to be a part of it,” said AEP CEO Nick Akins. “In fact we so believe in the benefits of SU’s Smart City Accelerator that we are sending an AEP team through it. The vision of Smart Columbus is for this community to be a center of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the SU Smart City Accelerator represents a significant step toward the realization of that vision.”

"This accelerator will empower entrepreneurs to leverage breakthroughs in technology, from autonomous vehicles to efficiencies made possible by object awareness, to enhance lives and improve standards of living," said Rich Langdale, Managing Partner, NCT Ventures. "The Smart Cities initiative is more than a challenge. Civilization is at a turning point and Columbus has the opportunity to promote innovation and pioneer what it means to live in a smart city of the future."

Organizations to Benefit from Supporting Smart Columbus Accelerator

Partners and sponsors of the SU Smart City Accelerator can also benefit from getting involved beyond raising awareness and linking their brands to thought leadership and innovation.  Sponsoring companies can choose to develop new products outside their traditional - often slower - R&D processes and gain the help of outside experts and resources. They will also get a first look at the most cutting-edge startups as well as possible market disruptions these startups represent, helping them to formulate better strategies for their own futures. Sponsors and partners will gain full access to all accelerator classes and presentations from subject matter experts in all areas around smart city technologies and innovation. Companies outside Columbus will gain invaluable access to the city’s existing corporate, industry and academic expertise, while local startups will benefit by forging critical relationships with entrepreneurs and thought leaders from across the country.

To learn more about how local businesses, organizations and individuals can get involved in the SU Smart Cities Accelerator as a sponsor, partner, mentor, or by investing resources, expertise or other in-kind support go to su.org/sca.

ABOUT SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY (SU)


Singularity University is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. SU's collaborative platform empowers individuals and organizations across the globe to learn, connect, and innovate breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. SU was founded in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis and is partnered with leading organizations including Google, Deloitte, Genentech, and UNICEF. To learn more, visit SU.org, join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @SingularityU.

About Smart Columbus

As the sole winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart Cities Challenge, Columbus was awarded funding and designated America’s Smart City; but more importantly it also won the coveted job as global teacher for cities around the world on how to “become Smart” by embracing the reinvention of transportation to accelerate human progress.  Columbus received a total of $50 million in the form of two grants: $40 million from USDOT and $10 million from Vulcan, Inc., a Paul Allen company. These dollars provide the seed funding for Smart Columbus, a region-wide Smart City initiative co-led by the City of Columbus and Columbus Partnership.  The City of Columbus, under the leadership of Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, is the lead recipient of the $50 million and will administer the deployment of these funds for the duration of the grant period, which concludes at the end of 2020.  The Columbus Partnership, representing the Columbus Region’s private sector, is the lead implementation partner for the grant program and is responsible for the initiative’s Acceleration Fund, which is credited as a significant factor in Columbus’ winning of the challenge. The Acceleration Fund, which started out as $90 million now totals more than $360 million and is composed of coordinated and aligned investments by the private sector to complement, scale, and sustain Smart Columbus projects and programs.  This number will continue to increase as new partnerships are formed with companies like Singularity University to reach the goal of $1 billion by 2020.

About AEP

Headquartered in Columbus, American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.

About NCT Ventures

NCT Ventures is a Columbus-based venture capital firm dedicated to providing a platform for entrepreneurs to succeed in turning their ideas into profitable business models through hands-on operational support. Over the last 20 years, NCT has helped build many successful companies across a variety of industries. NCT empowers entrepreneurs to develop disruptive technologies that improve market efficiencies. For more information, visit http://www.nctventures.com/.

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