Back in February, we told you about the Dallas Entrepreneur Center Network launching its Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator at its flagship West End location. The program was created to support entrepreneurs and early-stage companies in urban and civic transformation, and was backed by public, private, and academic collaborators including AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the Dallas Innovation Alliance. Fast forward to this week, and The DEC has announced the inaugural cohort of companies selected to participate.
The cohort was introduced last night at the DIA’s monthly Munch & Learn series. The DEC’s CEO Alyce Alston credited the leading companies and universities in the smart cities space for driving the success of the program.
“We look forward to bringing our background and experience in helping to accelerate startups through education, mentorship, and community to this important initiative,” she said.
Located in the Dallas Innovation District and Smart Cities Living Lab, the Innov8te incubator aims to be a driving force in the region’s smart city technology research and development. In an effort to provide senior city leaders a dedicated place to discuss ideas and solutions, a ‘Startup City Hall’ will be housed within the space.
“We are thrilled to support the great work that the Dallas Innovation Alliance has done in partnership with the City of Dallas and its collaborators through the Smart Cities Living Lab and the Dallas Innovation District,” Alston said.
The incubator takes a regional approach in that it supports the local companies focused on building products and technologies in sub-sectors like data analytics and visualization, IoT, AI and machine learning, blockchain, and AR/VR.
The goal is to improve eight areas of civic innovation: citizen engagement/services, equity/inclusion, infrastructure, governance, mobility, public health/healthcare, public safety, and sustainability. Steve Guengerich, clinical associate professor at UTD’s Jindal School of Management and lead for the university’s Innov8te partnership, said his students and alumni are increasingly proposing new ventures in these core themes.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand,” he said. “Our research faculty, led by the Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science, is already a leader in IoT and other baseline areas of smart cities innovation. We are excited to bring these UT Dallas stakeholders together, through joint education and projects at Innov8te, with the other founding collaborators.”
Mike Zeto, vice president and general manager of smart cities at AT&T, echoed the collaborative sentiment.
“Through our work with the Dallas Innovation Alliance and Innovation District, we’ve had a front-row seat for Dallas’ entrepreneurial and civic innovation enabled by smart cities technology,” he said. “By providing resources, education and training to the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator, we can empower bright minds in our city to address today’s greatest challenges and effectively grow the smart city solutions marketplace.”
Meet the first Innov8te cohort
The six-month Innov8te incubator is set to begin in June. Participating startups will receive access to education, mentorship, networking, programming, products and services, connections to corporations, and access to capital channels.
The members of the founding cohort are:
- CityFront Innovations bills itself as “the most powerful smart city integration platform on the market.” The Dallas-based company links data between siloed systems to create a unified view of a city’s data via a single mobile app experience.
- Designed to centralize an organization’s vast amount of dynamic information and tasks, OrgCentral is a powerful web-based system that integrates a suite of tools. Located in New York, OrgCentral lets users manage their public facing website and staff intranet, as well as streamline and automate business processes.
- Stroll is an app that acts as a “personal digital concierge” with real-time updates that keep users in-the-know. Created by Nashville-based bluField, the patented tech enables cities, tourism boards, and merchants to drive and track regional economic development and commerce.
- Massachusetts-based Planet Alpha Corporation was created to develop new practices for planetary management and stewardship. It involves a greenhouse gas (GHG) measurement infrastructure, GHG pricing, and GHG products company.
- RedHouse Virtual Education, based in Frisco, aims to discover new solutions to educational problems by using VR and mixed reality applications. Through its “theory of successful intelligence” models, RedHouse engages students at a higher level of cognitive education and advances learning.
- Creative digital agency The Virtual Wild helps its clients integrate cutting-edge technology into their marketing strategies. Based in Dallas, The Virtual Wild uses innovative and interactive experiences that are visually compelling to bring visual design to life.
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