Arlington, Va.-based startup Greater Places is focused on providing urban areas with sustainable design solutions. Greater Places helps cities build out their Smart City plans, develop mobility hubs, improve civic engagement by acting as a facilitator, and providing technology such as its award-winning website and forthcoming mobile app.

Last week, Greater Places got a boost in its quest to make America’s cities more sustainable and livable. It was selected for the Spring 2017 cohort of the Smart City Works Infrastructure Actuator. Launched by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the actuator is a business accelerator focused on growing early-stage companies that help make cities smarter, more livable, and more resilient. The program is run in conjunction with the Center for Innovative Technology. The actuator is just the beginning of a series of commonwealth initiatives that will drive innovation in infrastructure while also increasing economic development across Virginia and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.

“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 at Smart City Works. “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.”

The selection process for the Spring 2017 cohort began in February, when a call for innovation was issued. Smart City Works was specifically interested in companies that specialized in transportation, construction techniques, and public safety/resilience–three high-demand sectors. According to Smart CityWorks, the request brought in applications from startups and entrepreneurs located across the world. The final cohort was chosen via a competitive selection process.

“This first-in-the-nation business accelerator affirms Virginia’s role as a leader in creating livable, resilient communities,” said McAuliffe. “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.”

Five additional companies are joining Greater Places in the Spring 2017 cohort.

Fellow Arlington, Va.-based company UnomicEdge is a provider of cybersecurity solutions for co-working spaces.

With its Sensor Bottle, Integrated Health Technologies uses a patented technology to detect and relay water quality information to a user’s phone to provide real-time peace of mind that the water a user consumes is safe to drink.  According to the D.C.-based companies, these bottles provide cities with a crowdsourced platform for real-time water quality detection and monitoring of municipal water systems.

New York City-based​​ Infraccess provides a near real-time data and workflow analytics platform for infrastructure project financing, investing, and advisory services.

Capital Construction Solutions, based in Chicago, creates mobile-based risk management platforms for improving enterprisewide accountability and transparency for construction projects.

Rounding out the list is Kansas City, Mo.-based PlanIT Impact, which has created a smart modeling platform to help building professionals better understand and improve performance, including energy, water use, and transportation.

The cohort will go through a 90-day business boot camp, where each company will receive mentorship in all aspects of creating a sustainable and successful business, with a specific focus on identifying pilot opportunities, test-beds, and channels to market. At the boot camp, the companies will get to work with subject-matter experts, industry leaders, and investors. The spring program will end on June 28, 2017, with a Demo Day where the cohort will be able to pitch and demonstrate their technology to an audience of external mentors, investors, and stakeholders.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs