Microsoft and City Innovate Connect Innovative Startups to City Government
Innovation in fields such as IoT and AI is pushing into ever deeper corners of our lives and is changing everything from our homes to the way we work. Increasingly, it’s changing the cities we live in as well, as smart-city and government technologies continue to improve the lives of residents in cities around the world.
Here at Microsoft for Startups, we look for every opportunity to connect the most creative, capable and compelling startups and founders with customers that have a real need. This is why I’m incredibly excited today to announce that Microsoft for Startups and the Microsoft Cities team are partnering with City Innovate to sponsor its new Startup In Residence (STIR) program, connecting needed innovation to governments and procurement in cities across North America.
City Innovate is a nonprofit that helps governments address civic challenges through new and innovative technologies. The STIR program has gathered 80 challenges, which represent real problems sourced from 28 cities, counties, regional governments and states across North America. It is now accepting applications from startups that can solve the challenges these governments and their residents are facing, and will connect startups with governments to co-develop and test solutions over the course of the 16-week residence program.
Some of the emerging themes identified by local governments center around using data analytics services, crowdsourcing platforms, and urban planning tools to solve challenges they are facing. Some of the areas where government customers are seeking solutions include:
● IoT sensor platform for reducing traffic congestion and improving safety;
● Automated HOV lane enforcement;
● Disaster management and communication platform for residents and officials;
● Crowdsourcing platform to connect low-income renters and people willing to provide 21-day loans for security deposits;
● Smart assistant integration to enable residents to have a voice interface to city services;
● A planning tool to predict traffic impact of new real-estate development.
Startups and cities working in each of these areas can benefit from the expertise Microsoft can provide across data, AI and platform technologies. To that end, Microsoft has also joined City Innovate’s Technology Advisory Board (TAB), committed to advising and assisting City Innovate, the governments, and the startups themselves. In addition to its sponsorship support and role on TAB, Microsoft will provide eligible participating startups with an invitation to the unique Microsoft for Startups program, along with all of its benefits including access to technology and cloud credits, technical support and advisory services, and a path to growth through Microsoft’s GTM and sales channels.
“One of things that sets us apart from other programs for startups is the deliberate and unique way we are focused on supporting these companies in their efforts to find customers, which is one of the most challenging tasks facing young companies,” said Scott Mauvais, Director of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft. “In that vein, the work City Innovate is doing with its new STIR program, where they have worked hard to ensure that each government partner has leadership buy-in, a dedicated project manager, and budget committed is a perfect fit.”
This is what we’re all about – finding ways to help emerging tech companies scale and grow their companies, developing a true business partnership where startups get access to Microsoft marketplaces, partners and customers, all while solving real customer challenges. We can’t wait to see the applications come in!
Startups interested in applying for the Civic Challenges can find out more here. We encourage you to check it out! Applications are open through November 7th.
For more information, check out City Innovate’s announcement https://startupinresidence.org.