SU Smart City Accelerator: Columbus

Fostering smart cities today to power an abundant future

Overview

At Singularity University we see a global network of connected cities leading the next wave of innovation, and the SU Smart City Accelerator in Columbus, Ohio is where it all begins. ​

Columbus is at the heart of the North American Smart City movement. The City of Columbus “Smart Columbus” vision won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $40 Million Smart City Challenge in June 2016, after competing against 77 US cities to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies. This grant will support efforts to innovate and experiment with the future of smart cities. This funding has catalyzed more than $100M in additional sponsorship and matching funds into Columbus' Smart City initiative from corporations and organizations across the US, along with hundreds of ecosystems partners.

We're Helping Innovative Startups

Are you building a new venture in any of the below areas of focus? The SU Smart City Accelerator will give you access to our expert faculty, proven innovation tools and methods, and vast network of industry experts and entrepreneurs to provide mentorship and access to funding. We’re looking for bold new thinking to devise great solutions to bring us the cities of tomorrow, today. Are you in?

Applications for 2017 are closed.

Learn more

We Seek Pioneering Corporations to Join Us

We’re also looking for forward-thinking corporations to participate in the accelerator. This is a great opportunity to lend expertise to talented entrepreneurs while developing deeper innovation capabilities in your organization. Companies can send internal teams through the accelerator to innovate on their own internal projects alongside the startups, and/or lend their expertise as mentors to startup teams. This unique collaboration with the city, the US Department of Transportation, startups, and other corporations is the first of its kind and will catalyze exciting new innovations in the smart city space. Please join us!

Learn more and start a conversation

Areas of Focus for the SU Smart City Accelerator:

Why Columbus, Ohio

Why Columbus? SU is not alone in recognizing Columbus’ importance in the development and deployment of future mobility technologies. Both the U.S. Department of Transportation and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. have each selected—and pledged a combined $50 million to—Columbus as their primary locations for the deployment of a variety of future mobility applications, and several West Coast future mobility startups, including Volvo-backed Peloton Technology, have similarly chosen Columbus as their premier locations for testing and deployment.

Columbus’ excellent local research and corporate institutions, including The Ohio State University and Battelle Memorial Institute (the largest nonprofit grantmaking institution in the world), have teamed with local government agencies to provide a further $100 Million towards the deployment of future mobility technologies in Columbus, and the State of Ohio has led the way in allocating another $145 Million for adding increased functionality to Columbus’ already impressive suite of automotive testing facilities and the establishment of a cutting-edge connected corridor on its major roadways.

A longstanding logistical center at the intersection of the nation’s largest North-South and East-West arterial highways, Columbus is situated within 500 miles of nearly 50% of the entire U.S. population (and 40% of Canada’s population), is home to one of the nation’s largest inland ports, has a rapidly growing population, a median age 15% younger than the national average, and has long been recognized by corporations from M&Ms to McDonald’s as the preeminent city in the U.S. for product testing and rollouts. Former Sequoia partner Mark Kvamme recently quipped that he expected that within the next three years, Columbus would be the “most innovative city in America – easy.”

We believe Columbus offers a true “diamond in the rough” opportunity to capitalize on a well recognized, demographically and geographically advantaged location supported by a strong governmental and institutional focus on advancing future mobility technologies. 

Recently rated by the Kauffman Foundation as the No. 1 city in scaling up startups, Columbus has been ranked by BusinessWeek in its list of the 50 best cities in America. Forbes gave Columbus an "A" rating as one of the top cities for business in the U.S.and fDi Magazine ranked the city No. 3 in the U.S. for cities of the future. Learn more about this vibrant city here: https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/.

The Midwest is on the Map

2016 alone saw at least $14 Billion of private investment activity in future mobility across over 200 deals, driven by significant investments from both traditional venture capital funds and automotive corporate venture arms, often in partnership with one another. Matching Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and innovation acumen with Midwest automotive manufacturing and technical expertise is yielding one of the most prolific cross-country regional partnerships in the history of the U.S., with West Coast startups from Peloton to Uber choosing to establish significant operations in logistically advantaged locations in Midwestern cities. Several newly established, vertically focused accelerators and venture funds have already taken root in the Midwest to capitalize on this nascent—but currently unsatisfied—opportunity set.