Seeking Startups to Design Smart Cities

Help shape the future of smart cities, and be transformed in the process!

Overview

At Singularity University (SU), we work with startups at all stages of the entrepreneurial journey through our innovative programs. To date, our portfolio companies have raised more than $186 Million, and some of their key accomplishments include:

  • Securing a paid pilot with a large US retailer as a result of an SU introduction
  • Teaming up with an SU corporate partner to sponsor the first commercial prints in space
  • Working with an SU corporate partner to pivot into a new sector of retail robotics
  • Closing an F100 customer after presenting at an SU program
  • Launching a pilot with a major multinational corporation after an SU introduction

Now we’re taking our act on the road, and we’re looking to help accelerate the development of smart cities. We’ve set our sights on Erie, Pennsylvania.

SEA, the Secure Erie Accelerator, is a first-of-its-kind startup accelerator focused on solutions for securing the massive amounts of data and devices needed for smart cities. It’s a 10-week program that will select the best 10 teams from around the world to participate. As part of the Erie Innovation District (EID) initiative, SEA brings together partners like Singularity University to provide participants with a global network of experts, mentors, and collaborators in order to ensure their ideas and ventures for the smart city of the future come to market faster.

Our three goals are to help you network, expand, and accelerate. We’re going to help you build your network. We’ll find mentors and advisors with specific backgrounds to give you relevant advice for your business. You’ll get the tools you need to take your venture to the next level. And you’ll come away with a new set of friends for life and a network that will see you through your long-term journey and guide you at every major decision point.

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Who Should Apply to the Program?

If your startup is working on or has an innovative solution in security issues related to smart cities, big data, or insuretech, then this program is for you. The SEA is designed for founders seeking to grow their businesses fast through access to capital, increased exposure, rigorous curriculum, and mentorship. 

Generally, the accelerator is open to any disruptive technology in data analytics, cybersecurity, or insuretech. However, we’re particularly interested in how those technologies apply to smart cities. With billions of connected devices and incredible amounts of data being generated, security becomes a particular concern.

We’re also interested entrepreneurs who are experienced professionals—those who are developing solutions that speak directly to challenges and pain points they’ve encountered in business and who have market-validated solutions that impact these sectors: big data analytics, cybersecurity, insuretech, and smart city security solutions. 

Those who apply should also understand the need for collaboration, mentorship, and access to realize success. 

Program Details

In this intensive 10-week program, entrepreneurs like you will receive high-velocity training, relevant mentoring from the best minds around the world, and help preparing to scale your company. Finally, you will receive up to $100,000 in funding for your venture by entering the accelerator. The accelerator can fund through three types of investments: 

  • Equity - Either through a warrant or straight equity deal 
  • Mixed - Either through a SAFE Note or a Convertible Note
  • Debt - Low-interest loans 

The entities funding the companies are Ben Franklin Partners and the EID. Typically, each entity will invest for an equity stake between 2% - 6%.

This unique program will deliver:

  • Mind-expanding content and workshops inspired by Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, and Salim Ismail, covering such topics as future forecasting, rapid prototyping, business fundamentals, and funding
  • Tailored sessions designed to help you integrate what you’ve learned and a chance to engage with key experts hand-selected in advance based on your specific needs (think of this as a board meeting on steroids!)
  • Unparalleled access to our investor network of the who’s who of Silicon Valley
  • Up to $100,000 in seed funding to give you runway throughout the program
  • Co-working space

Note to international companies:

The Secure Erie Accelerator can only benefit you if you want to expand into the US market. In order for us to work with your venture, you must have a US parent corporation (either now or by the time you start the program). This does not mean you need to relocate to the U.S. You can run operations from any country, and a lot of our companies are based in other countries, in fact.

Important Dates

Applications open: April 9, 2018
Applications close: June 4, 2018
Teams notified: June 25, 2018
Program starts: July 16, 2018
Program ends: September 21, 2018

Apply now

Meet a Few of Our Mentors

Frequently Asked Questions

Ready to dig deeper? Here are answers to the questions we’re asked most often.

Why does my company need to be incorporated in the US?

Your business can be based anywhere. However, if you are not incorporated in the US, we cannot invest money in your company (nor can a VC in the United States). Most companies form a Delaware C entity. We recommend speaking with your lawyer about the best way to incorporate, as we can’t offer legal counsel.

Does my business have to be based in the US?

No, but see the above question.

What are the goals of the Secure Erie Accelerator?

The mission of our accelerator program is to network, expand, and accelerate your company.

SEA is accepting up to 10 companies in its inaugural cohort and helping them to grow their businesses through access to capital and introductions to potential customers or partners. The accelerator aims to bring new innovative companies in security to add to the Secure Smart City Initiative of Erie and build upon the city’s core strengths. 

Lastly, the accelerator aims to demonstrate why Erie is an ideal place to open an outpost or relocate your company. The EID can offer many kinds of incentives to companies looking to establish a presence in Erie.  

In addition to networking, we will provide you with business and technology experts who will expand your thinking. This expansion phase will help you optimize and redesign aspects of your business for long-term sustainability.

Our program is highly customized to accelerate your company and help you attain your specific goals. We will work closely you to achieve your 6-month aims in a 10-week program.

What are the dates for the program?

Applications open: April 9, 2018
Applications close: June 4, 2018
Teams notified: June 25, 2018
Program starts: July 16, 2018
Program ends: September 21, 2018

What will my day-to-day experience be?

Overall, we aim to keep programming light so that you can focus on doing the work to move your product forward. During the first 2 weeks, we will have more touch points with the entire class. As the program continues, we will shift to more customized engagements with each team.

Where will the program take place? Can I be remote?

The program will take place in Downtown Erie, Pennsylvania.

Due to the intense, hands-on nature of our program, we require you and your co-founder to attend in person. (Frankly, you wouldn’t want to do it any other way!

Will you be providing lodging/food/travel?

We will connect you with lodging sources in Erie, but we do not provide you with lodging. We will be providing food during some of the programming and events. Otherwise, there are plenty of places nearby to eat, and you can also order food for delivery.

We will be happy to provide you with a visa letter, but we do not pay for your travel expenses.

Is there a monetary cost to attend the program?

There is no monetary cost to attend our accelerator program. The program is fully covered by the deal terms of the investment. However, you will be responsible for your travel and living expenses.

How will we know if we’ve succeeded?

There is not one definition of success when coming out of an accelerator program. However, there are a few standard key performance indicators that we will look at throughout the program: 

  • Monthly recurring revenue
  • Mentor engagements
  • Proofs of concept / Pilots
  • Venture capital introductions
  • Software development

Each company should base the success of the program differently. At the beginning of the program, we will be working with you to set goals for different time periods and our jobs will be to make sure that we are offering all of the support and resources we can to make sure that you meet those goals. 

Apply now