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 a 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, starting with Columbus, Ohio. 

In this intensive 10-week program, you’ll receive high-velocity training, relevant mentoring from the best minds around the world, and help preparing to scale your company. Finally, you’ll also receive up to $100,000 in seed funding, provided by NCT Ventures.

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. 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. There is no other accelerator with as much concentrated corporate and government interest around the areas your startup is solving for!

Program Details

  • 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!)
  • Ridiculous amounts of time with key individuals you don’t yet have on speed dial: Fortune 500 executives, leaders from our Google-sponsored Global Solutions Program, alumni from our international network, and accomplished attendees of the X-Prize (we’ll open the doors, and we’ll also help prepare you for the meetings!)
  • Unparalleled access to our investor network of the who’s who of Silicon Valley
  • Up to $100,000 in seed funding, provided by NCT Ventures, to give you runway throughout the program.
  • Co-working space
  • Long-term support via our Startup Network to keep you integrated into and engaged with our network

Note to international companies:

The Smart City 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: May 15, 2017 
Applications close: July 31, 2017 
Acceptance notification: August 14, 2017 
Accelerator begins (Columbus OH): September 12, 2017
Accelerator ends: November 17, 2017 

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Meet a Few of Our Mentors

Who Should Apply

We’re looking for you if your startup is innovating in any of the focus areas shown below. The SU Smart City Accelerator will provide an intense, hands-on, customized experience in the heart of Smart City activity in Columbus, Ohio. You’ll learn how to apply exponential thinking and rapidly accelerating technologies to devise innovative solutions that will have far-reaching scope and impact. Need more guidance? See our FAQ below.

Areas of Focus for the SU Smart City Accelerator:

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We’re here to help you build products and services that will redefine the American city and positively impact humanity at scale. That’s why we’re different. That’s why we know we can help you be successful. And that’s why we want to work with you. Are you in?

Apply now

Frequently Asked Questions

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

What type of companies is the Smart City Accelerator looking for?

We have five focus areas:

  • Mobility (e.g., logistics, transportation, Interfaces, supply chain, and automated and connected vehicles)
  • Connectivity (e.g., wireless, 5G, satellite, and IoT)
  • Data/Analytics (e.g., artificial intelligence, machine learning, test design, security, and encryption)
  • Infrastructure/Energy (e.g., microgrids and related enabling technologies, charging stations, IoT, battery technology, smart energy consumption technology, storage, electrification, and alternative propulsion systems)
  • Manufacturing/Production (e.g., 3D printing, micro-manufacturing, ergonomic design, and supply chain management tiers 1 and 2)

We’re actively looking for startups with sufficient demonstrated traction to prove that they’re offering real solutions to the problems they seek to solve. Traction comes in many forms, and good indicators are:

  • People are willing to pay for your solution
  • You have solid research or expertise around the problem
  • You’ve signed LOI’s (or similar) with companies wanting to integrate your technology

What are the requirements for startups to be accepted?

Startups need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Team size: Minimum of two full-time co-founders to attend the program
  • Legal status: US parent corporation (now or by the time you start the program) 
  • Program fit: Applicability to one of our 5 areas of focus
  • Expertise and team fit: Team has experience working together and has specific domain expertise in their industry 
  • Product/market fit: Company can demonstrate product/market fit through traction and achieved milestones
  • Strategic capacity: A plan that clearly articulates the company’s values, strategy, and steps to attract the required capital and partnerships
  • Vision: Long-term vision with a clear 6-month roadmap

Why is it important for our company to have two co-founders?

Having two co-founders ensures that your company’s development during the program will translate after program completion. We do not accept solo founders

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 Smart City Accelerator?

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

Our primary goal is to network you with an unparalleled set of advisors, corporates, development organizations, mentors, and funders, and plug you into the worldwide SU community. Among a host of notable achievements, our mentors have: developed the first prototype of Google glass, designed the UX for the Big Dog robot, and funded over 30 medtech companies with a cumulative market cap exceeding $50 billion.

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 do the funding terms look like?

  • Access to all of the programming during the 8-week Accelerator, including: curated mentor matches, introductions to investors, pitch training, exposure to our proven curriculum and methods, media assets, a personalized Accelerator board of advisors, mastermind sessions, and introductions to our corporate network, among other perks.
  • Automatic enrollment in our SU Startup Network, which is a dedicated long-term support program available to you upon completion of the program. The Startup Network will provide access to our funders, mentors, development organizations, AWS and Google Cloud credits, media support, and corporate partners, plus speaking opportunities at our sold-out industry conferences.
  • Promotion to our expanding global community as a featured portfolio startup.

What are the dates for the program?

The Smart City Accelerator is scheduled to kick off in September and will run for 10 weeks. Dates will be posted on our website when they are announced.

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 Columbus Ohio.

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 Columbus, 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?

Our team will work with you determine your metrics for success. Together, we will use these metrics to evaluate your progress during the program, and we’ll focus our collective efforts to help you achieve them.

In addition, our team will be checking in with you during the program to help ensure you’re on a path to success.

Ready to apply?

Awesome! We're excited to hear all about your company.

Apply now