"This is a genuinely diverse tech conference" - Saneel Radia.
We’re proud of this observation, though we didn’t have any quotas when we sent the invitations for Smart City Startups. We believe that great ideas and talent can come from anywhere and we worked hard to find the very best startups and all of the investors, local government representatives, partners and experts that want to see them succeed.
When everyone got together, a few things became clear. First, everyone is interested in seeing how tech, business models and policy changes can make cities better. In fact, one of the most referenced ideas was from Ramez’s keynote: “Cities are our future, so it’s critical that we get them right”. Second and perhaps most importantly, our assumptions about different stakeholders are often wrong.
My favorite example of this? Towards the end of discussion between representatives from Tel Aviv, Berlin, NYC and Philadelphia, a gentleman asked for the mic and made his way forward to ask a question. He then introduced himself as the mayor of the City of Miami. He came to listen and had been sitting in the audience, throughout. We don’t understand contemporary local government - many are listening and learning and trying to figure out how best to help innovative tech companies.
There are some great examples that capture the energy and themes of the two days. We were lucky to have Matt Raviera join us from NBC and he compiled this great report. Before the event, we shared some of the trends and themes on CNNMoney. Govtech focused on venture capital and working with local government and National League of Cities made the case for why startups can solve cities’ greatest challenges. And this is what happens when urbantech founders get together at an afterparty. We’re continuing to update a complete list of content.
In the end, more than 250 summit participants came from over 80 cities. While the content was great and Wynwood is a fantastic location, its overwhelming clear that the thing people like most at the event were the other people they met. We’re going to work hard to make sure this is the case again in 2016.
[Startup Candidate] SeeClickFix Introduction - See Click Fix (SCF) has been working in Civictech long before it became a thing. SCF helps residents interact with local government agencies to report, track and deliver better local services from repairing potholes to finding lost pets. Please take a look and let us know what you think.
[Founder Updates] From Skycatch, HandUp and Architizer - Skycatch has sent people and drones to help in Nepal. HandUp continues to enjoy popular support, most recently winning a Webby! And check out the Architizer A+ Awards winners (product categories show early signs that software is no longer just for design spaces, but for running them too)
[Investment Announcement] Blocpower - We’re super excited to share that we’re now working with Donnel and the Blocpower team. The Tesla Energy announcements this week just underscored the notion that we have the tech, but now we need new business models. The Blocpower team is focused on using innovative auditing, procurement and finance processes to bring the best existing tech to those that can benefit most from significant energy savings (all while reducing CO2 footprints too).
[Opportunities] ITSA & Metropolitan Solutions - Intelligent transportation systems annual meeting is happening in Pittsburgh at the end of May. Here are some examples of how startups like Ridescout and Metrotech benefitted by participating in 2014. We believe Berlin is one of the most important cities for Urbantech in the EU and Metropolitan Solutions is well worth your time as you consider EU expansion (organized by our friends at Berlin Partner).
Shaun & Stonly