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Arlington Startup Selected for Smart Cities Business Accelerator

by Chris Teale April 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

A county startup was one of just six companies selected last week for a business accelerator focused on helping cities be smarter and more livable.

Arlington-based Greater Places will participate in the Smart City Works Infrastructure Actuator, the first in the Greater Washington area, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced on Friday.

The accelerator focuses on growing young companies that help make cities smarter, more livable and more resilient. This program, operated in conjunction with the Center for Innovative Technology, is anticipated to help drive innovation in infrastructure while fostering economic development.

Also in the program are McLean- and San Jose, Calif.-based UnomicEdge; Integrated Health Solutions of D.C.; Infraccess of New York; Chicago-based Capital Construction Solutions and PlanIT Impact of Kansas City, Mo.

Greater Places provides urban design solutions including models of transit-oriented development, and it is already looking ahead to the growth of driverless vehicles. It comprises a soon-to-be-launched mobile app as well as the website, which have evolved from it previously being published as a physical textbook, and is based at startup incubator 1776.

Founder Lisa Nisenson previously helped create “Cards Against Urbanity,” a parody of the irreverent card game “Cards Against Humanity” to get players thinking about urban planning while poking fun at the cities they live in.

The incubator program consists of an intense 90-day business boot camp where startups are mentored in creating a sustainable and successful business, with a focus on identifying pilot opportunities, testing and marketing opportunities.

Smart City Works brings together subject-matter experts, industry leaders and investors to help launch, build, and grow successful startups.

Nisenson said in an interview that one-on-one mentorship is one of the most helpful aspects of the program.

The one-on-one attention that everyone’s getting is so completely essential,” Nisenson said. “There’s other types of incubators, and a lot of times you don’t get that one-on-one, it’s just, ‘Here’s the business model canvas, here’s the PowerPoint, check it out.’ In this case, they can go straight into your data and tell you what to modify and look at customer segments. It’s that attention to really honing in.”

The spring program ends on June 28 with a Demo Day, where companies will have the opportunity to pitch and demonstrate their technology to an audience of external mentors, investors and stakeholders.

“This first-in-the-nation business accelerator affirms Virginia’s role as a leader in creating livable, resilient communities,” said McAuliffe in a statement. “It will harness our region’s valuable assets and will attract technology companies from across the globe to the commonwealth. The actuator will allow us to bring cutting-edge technology to market, deploying these innovations in smart communities across Virginia and making us a national model for smart cities.”

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