Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator

Our cities need to be more than just smart.

The Challenge

Our cities need to be more than just smart. With over 80% of the world’s population living in urban areas, along with a decade of technological changes that are now part of daily living, the road to implementing and creating a path to the ultimate ‘smart city’ is still unclear. Instead of asking how to make our cities smart, we’re asking a different question: How do we create connections of people, things, and technology in cities to truly increase the quality of life of its inhabitants?

And in the wake of an unprecedented pandemic, transportation, safety and how we function and operate in our cities has changed forever. This creates new challenges (and opportunities) worth exploring.

Founding Partner

About the program

Safe × Connected Cities Accelerator is joining forces with some of the world’s most innovative companies to work with startups that care about making people’s lives better. We’re looking for startups that want to proactively scale their businesses and test their products’ viability by strategically implementing solutions in-market.

We believe that working alongside leading corporations, industry leaders and experts can create meaningful changes to urban environments. We invite innovative startups in verticals such as IoT, urban mobility, and the connectivity space to join us on a mission to test and implement solutions that can make cities safer and more connected one block at a time.

Program Details

The Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator is a milestone-driven accelerator program for early-stage companies, with a mission to take on the chasm that every startup must cross: access to scale.

  • Milestone-driven program structured to accelerate the growth of cohort companies with support from enterprise and startup network partners.
  • Program is completely virtual (although we hope there will be opportunities to collaborate in-person, in Toronto)
  • The focus will be defining and implementing pilots, primarily with Aviva Canada and our additional partners
  • Pilot program budgets will be allocated based on the design and implementation for each startup accepted into the program
  • No equity investment upfront; opportunity for follow-on investment from Highline Beta and Founding Partners

Program Timeline

  • Open for Applications: October 10, 2020
  • Applications Closed: December 18, 2020
  • Program Kick-off: February 1, 2021
  • Program Ends: July, 2021
  • Demo Day: TBD

Why join the program?

  • Connect. The program provides a low-risk platform to connect with enterprise partners and validate technologies, strategies, products, and ideas in close partnership with them and Highline Beta.
  • Test. Through tailored programming and 1:1 coaching, the program helps startups get to a proof-of-concept faster with an opportunity for enterprise scale.
  • Scale. Our enterprise network of leading smart city and mobility collaborators provide an industry-wide ‘unfair advantage’ that can only come from validated products and scale, which in turn amplifies brand awareness and fuels growth.
  • Access funding. Potential funding and access to other institutional investors via the Highline Beta network.

Improving road safety

Trouble lingers on our roads. For ourselves, our families and our neighbours. We cannot ignore the dangers any longer. Whether we’re pedestrians or drivers, when it comes to overcrowded city roads and outdated infrastructure, it’s important to stay safe. And while there may be fewer cars on the roads, as more people work from home, other modes of transportation are increasing. Kids are going back to schools. Bikes, scooters and walking are on the rise. Traffic accidents are down, but the severity has increased. Even in these unprecedented times, road safety remains a critical issue. So how can we find a smarter way around and make our roads safer?

We are looking for startups with focus on road safety. Some examples include:

  • The New Normal – As we all adapt to COVID-19 and the ongoing challenges faced by the pandemic, road safety and transportation are forever changed. Specifically, we’re interested in solutions for increased pedestrian traffic, social distancing while traveling, supporting public transit and more.
  • Cycling Safety – Advances in clothing, accessories and bicycle technology that makes street cycling safer. Interventions that reduce unsafe bicycle and motor vehicle interactions.
  • Pedestrian Safety Solutions – Technology and interventions that make the most vulnerable road users safer. Advances that improve the walkability of streets and communities. Innovations that make school buses and other public transit safer when boarding and disembarking.
  • Data Solutions – Technologies that aggregate private sector and public data to look at the root causes of crashes and suggest interventions. Data solutions to help nationally standardize the collection of collision data. Cyber security solutions that aim to protect information transmitted between pedestrians, vehicles and the infrastructure as well as proactively identify and manage risks related to theft of sensitive data, invasion of privacy and fraud.
  • Sensors & Digital Signage Solutions – Integrated navigation solutions that can communicate real-time information on speed limits, lane closures, road characteristics and traffic flow. Sensors and automation in vehicles that make them safer and innovations that make street crossings, cycling or multi-use streets safer.
  • Improved Driving Solutions – Technology to curb distracted driving and reduce other risky driving behaviours. Innovations that help drivers see better and have more time to react.
  • Accurate Detection Solutions – Improving intersection safety through accurate detection of pedestrians, cyclists, cars and transit riders to inform decisions about traffic flow and priorities.

FAQ

  • What type of startups are you looking for? We’re typically looking for seed stage startups with a product in market, early traction and a strong founding team. However, if you’re beyond this stage (Series A, B, etc.) and you believe your solution will make a real impact, we encourage you to apply. 
  • Can I apply if my company does not fit the IoT, urban mobility, and the connectivity verticals? We encourage all companies that have identified a solution fit to the challenge theme to apply.
  • Do I have to be located in Toronto to take part in the program? Companies are not required to be located in Toronto. We hope to find opportunities to bring people together in Toronto, but will run the program virtually.
  • How long is the program? The program runs for 6 months. Remote teams are encouraged to apply.
  • How do I apply? We use a platform called F6S to accept applications. When you click one of our links to the application you’ll be asked to create a profile. Please make sure you provide an email you are checking so we can send you application updates.
  • What happens after the application has been submitted? The selection team will carefully review each application. If an initial fit between the program and your company/product is identified, you will be invited to arrange an in-person video call with our selection team to get to know your company better.
  • TSR

  • City of Kitchener

  • AIP

  • Dentons

  • RBC Ventures

* Our programs are made possible thanks to our partners, who provide invaluable expertise and resources.

Team

Ben Yoskovitz

Ben Yoskovitz

Oksana Salamaszek

Oksana Salamaszek

Veronika Kvon

Veronika Kvon

Catherine Brown, Aviva Canada

Catherine Brown, Aviva Canada

Elizabeth Wood, Aviva Canada

Elizabeth Wood, Aviva Canada

Jill Lewis, Aviva Canada

Jill Lewis, Aviva Canada

Mentors

Baiju Devani, Aviva Canada

Baiju Devani, Aviva Canada

Jennifer Shah, Aviva Canada

Jennifer Shah, Aviva Canada

Jonathan Spinner, Aviva Canada

Jonathan Spinner, Aviva Canada

Chris Knight, Aviva Canada

Chris Knight, Aviva Canada

Pauley Ting, Aviva Canada

Pauley Ting, Aviva Canada

Geoff Wilkinson, Ontario Traffic Council

Geoff Wilkinson, Ontario Traffic Council

Mona Eghanian, Ontario Traffic Council

Mona Eghanian, Ontario Traffic Council

Dan Ruby, AVIN

Dan Ruby, AVIN

Michael Hollinger, Dentons

Michael Hollinger, Dentons

Christine Ho, Dentons

Christine Ho, Dentons

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