A new type of business accelerator geared toward infrastructure and construction businesses is up and running in Virginia, and Kansas City-based architecture startup PlanIT Impact has won a chance to participate in the business boot camp’s first year.
Smart City Works, a non-profit business networking company, has found that construction and infrastructure startups require a different kind of business accelerator than other companies, largely because of their investments in physical developments. That’s why the not-for-profit came up with the Infrastructure Actuator: an environment made specifically to take a construction business idea and tailor it to a real-world marketplace. While utilizing emerging technologies like cloud computing and 4K video, businesses like PlanIT Impact are still infrastructure-based and can benefit from a business course tailored to their needs.
“Smart City Works is the nation’s first business accelerator focused exclusively on technologies and applications for improving the built environment,” said David Heyman, co-founder and partner of Smart City Works, in a press release. “Cities across the globe are looking for innovative solutions to address rising social and civic challenges that they face. We are only going to solve these challenges if we unlock the power of innovation in infrastructure and transform the way we design, build, and operate cities.”
In February, Smart City Works sent out a call for innovative companies in three sectors: transportation, construction techniques, and public safety/resilience. After a competitive selection process, the following companies earned the opportunity to complete the new 90-day business boot camp:
- Greater Places – Arlington, Va.
- UnomicEdge – McLean, Va. and San Jose, Calif.
- Integrated Health Solutions – Washington, D.C.
- Infraccess – New York, N.Y.
- Capital Construction Solutions – Chicago, Ill.
- PlanIT Impact – Kansas City, Mo.
The businesses accepted into the program take a class and receive mentorship from experienced businesses and entrepreneurs in the community in exchange for a part of the company’s equity. They also receive financial planning assistance, resource development and university participation while in the program. Eventually, they acquire access to demonstration test beds, facilities and acquire connections to larger marketplaces, especially cities who need infrastructure improvement.
It’s been about one month since Smart City Works announced the spring 2017 cohort, and Dominique Davison, CEO of PlanIT Impact, has already found value in the program.
“I think we have measurably benefited from our involvement,” Davison said. “The Virginia Tech eco-system is truly impressive and we are looking to continue to bolster our relationships there.”