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Startups to compete for $100K investments from new Columbus Smart City Accelerator

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Columbus’ Smart City initiative is launching a startup accelerator, seeking applicants for 10 awards of up to $100,000 each to apply new technologies to old industries – such as self-driving cars in transportation or 3D printing in manufacturing – and make mid-sized cities run more sustainably and efficiently.

Singularity University, an innovation consultant that trains business leaders and runs accelerators, will operate the Smart City Accelerator starting in September – its first program outside its home base in Silicon Valley.Faculty and mentors will come from Singularity’s network and from industries that are the accelerator’s focus, said Nick Davis, Singularity’s vice president of corporate innovation, who splits his time between California and his native Columbus.

Columbus-based American Electric Power Company Inc. is the lead operational sponsor, and Columbus’ NCT Ventures is backing the $100,000 investments in the startups.

Singularity was attracted to Columbus by the Smart City/ Smart Columbus initiative. Columbus officials have gathered $367 million in public and private investment pledges to augment a $40 million federal award from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.

“The vision of Smart Columbus is for this community to be a center of innovation and entrepreneurship,” AEP CEO Nick Akins said in a statement. AEP will run an in-house competition for a staff-generated startup to land one of the 10 spots.

The accelerator’s industry categories are:

Transportation, logistics, supply chain.
Connectivity such as wireless broadband and 5G networks.
Data and analytics.
Energy and infrastructure.
For more details, click here. Applications open May 15.

“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,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a release. “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.”

Davis also is a founding partner in Lumos Innovation, which is kicking off its second accelerator round and accepting applications for a new financial technology accelerator. Lumos is not involved in the Smart City accelerator, Davis said.

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