Singularity University Unveils Columbus Smart City Accelerator For Startups With Tech Innovations In Transportation, Municipal Services, Energy Efficiency, Secure Networks, Workforce Development

September 12, 2017

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF., and COLUMBUS, OHIO – Sept. 12, 2017 – 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, today opens its first Smart City Accelerator in Columbus, Ohio, the winning city of the U.S. 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.”

Members of the SU Columbus Smart City Accelerator


HAAS Alert ( Realtime mobile vehicle-to-vehicle safety service connecting motorists with city agencies and first responder services. In ten municipalities and partnering with Jaguar/Landrover.

AVE AutoMedia ( New ride-sharing platform connecting cars and mobility services that rewards pre-scheduling and is sold to enterprises and city governments. Platform will become part of fully autonomous vehicle fleet by 2019.

Municipal Services

inTouch ( Mobile app connects citizens to city resources and allows cities to monitor interactions through Cisco’s Smart + Connected Platform.

Scio Technology Provides police departments with advanced identification of high-risk officers and manages the process of remediation and officer training.

Onseen ( Location-driven collaboration apps for mobile teams. Seamlessly connects people, places, and things with location-aware platform.

Energy Efficiency

Nikola Labs ( Provider of chipsets for wireless charging for the Internet of Things.

JadeTrack ( Cloud-based software platform that empowers organizations to maximize energy efficiency and sustainability by automating utility bills, ENERGY STAR facility benchmarking, and real-time monitoring.

GridCure ( Provider of off-the-shelf analytics for power utilities; integration and professional services.

Buzz Solutions ( Autonomous drones and predictive analytics that help automate the process of power line inspection for power utility companies.

AEP ( Power the Road Team is focused on bringing an Electric Vehicle subscription plan for charging vehicles to residences, public charging infrastructures, and fleets. AEP ( Smart Street Light Team is focused on integrating lighting, sensors, security and video, as well as data analytics into intelligent city infrastructures to improve quality of life, enhance economic growth, and address city challenges.

Secure Networks

SafeChain ( Eliminates fraud and redundancies in real estate transactions using blockchain technology.

Workforce Development

Mentored ( Communications platform that enables organizations to teach, motivate, assist, and guide people through important phases in their lives, including job placement.

About Smart Columbus

As the sole winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart Cities Challenge, Columbus was awarded funding and designated America’s Smart City; but more importantly it also won the coveted job as global teacher for cities around the world on how to “become Smart” by embracing the reinvention of transportation to accelerate human progress. Columbus received a total of $50 million in the form of two grants: $40 million from USDOT and $10 million from Vulcan, Inc., a Paul Allen company. These dollars provide the seed funding for Smart Columbus, a region-wide Smart City initiative co-led by the City of Columbus and Columbus Partnership. The City of Columbus, under the leadership of Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, is the lead recipient of the $50 million and will administer the deployment of these funds for the duration of the grant period, which concludes at the end of 2020. The Columbus Partnership, representing the Columbus Region’s private sector, is the lead implementation partner for the grant program and is responsible for the initiative’s Acceleration Fund, which is credited as a significant factor in Columbus’ winning of the challenge. The Acceleration Fund, which started out as $90 million now totals more than $360 million and is composed of coordinated and aligned investments by the private sector to complement, scale, and sustain Smart Columbus projects and programs. This number will continue to increase as new partnerships are formed with companies like Singularity University to reach the goal of $1 billion by 2020.


Singularity University (SU) is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. SU's collaborative platform empowers individuals and organizations across the globe to learn, connect, and innovate breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. A certified benefit corporation headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, SU was founded in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis with program funding from leading organizations including Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF. To learn more, visit, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @SingularityU, and download the SingularityU Hub mobile app.


Headquartered in Columbus, American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.


NCT Ventures is a Columbus-based venture capital firm dedicated to providing a platform for entrepreneurs to succeed in turning their ideas into profitable business models through hands-on operational support. Over the last 20 years, NCT has helped build many successful companies across a variety of industries. NCT empowers entrepreneurs to develop disruptive technologies that improve market efficiencies. For more information, visit


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