Singularity University Unveils Columbus Smart City Accelerator for Startups


MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF., and COLUMBUS, OHIO – 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, opened its first Smart City Accelerator in Columbus, Ohio, the winning city of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. Co-sponsored by Columbus-based American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and NCT Ventures, the SU SmartCity Columbus Accelerator is a ten-week program designed to foster and rapidly grow promising technology startups selected for their innovations and vision in helping cities function better while transforming how residents and communities work and live. The Accelerator, which starts today and ends November 17th, is taking place in the new 15,000 square foot Columbus innovation center in downtown Columbus. Each of the participating teams is eligible for up to $100,000 in funding from NCT Ventures to help ensure their breakthroughs are implemented.

The cohort of eleven startups (and two teams from sponsor AEP) were selected from a pool of 400 global applicants based on their innovative ideas and expertise in using emerging or exponential technologies to solve urban challenges and give rise to smarter cities. The teams are being assigned business and technology mentors and given access to the SU faculty and global community of experts, as well as receiving the SU startup accelerator programming and toolsets. In addition to the guidance they receive in developing their solutions over the course of the Accelerator, the teams will also receive help from sponsors in the areas of uncommon partnering, web services, legal support, financial services and tax planning for their fledgling businesses and solutions.

“There is huge interest in this Accelerator and the role of Columbus as the world’s model for the deployment of exponential technology to enhance the lives of people in urban areas,” said Nick Davis, vice president of Corporate Innovation at Singularity University. “This cohort of startups is impressive. Many have already seen some initial success. It is the job of SU and our program sponsors to ensure we do everything possible to foster their innovation and help them accelerate their trajectories to mainstream market acceptance. We welcome them to the 200,000-strong SU global community.”  

“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 two AEP teams 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.”

“NCT Ventures is proud to fund the startups in the first SU Smart City Accelerator,” said Rich Langdale, Managing Partner, NCT Ventures. “Together with the help of SU and AEP, we’ll empower these entrepreneurs to leverage breakthroughs in technology to enhance our lives and improve our standards of living. We look forward to the results of this Accelerator and to the example Columbus will set as a pioneer in what it means to live in a smart city of the future.”