Innov8te smart cities incubator announces first cohort of companies driving urban transformation

The DEC Network announced the initial cohort of the six companies selected for its Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator in its flagship West End location. It is focused on supporting entrepreneurs and early-stage companies in sectors backing urban and civic transformation.

Founding public, private and academic collaborators include AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft, the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) and the Dallas Innovation Alliance. This incubator’s presence in the Dallas Innovation District and Smart Cities Living Lab continues to drive a focus on smart city technology research and development for the region. “Startup City Hall” will be housed within Innov8te to provide senior leaders at the city a dedicated office amongst the companies and ideas building from within the incubator to discuss ideas and solutions to address challenges facing the city.

The members of the founding cohort are:

  • CityFront: CityFront’s Smart Cities Integration Platform is said to be the most advanced integration platform in local government today. CityFront solves the integration problem that is inherent in local governments by linking data between siloed systems, thus creating a unified view of the city’s data via ONE mobile app experience. CFI’s competitive advantage is based on our proprietary ZERO CODE applications development environment that enables technicians to get done in weeks what used to take months and even years saving cities enormous amounts of time and money.
  • OrgCentral: OrgCentral is a web-based system designed to centralise and organise the vast amount of dynamic information and tasks every organisation has to deal with today. It integrates a powerful suite of tools designed to let you easily manage your public facing website and staff intranet as well as streamline and automate virtually every business process you can imagine—from member recruitment and member care, to event planning and management to payments to email communications.
  • Planet Alpha Corp: Planet Alpha Corporation (PαC) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) measurement infrastructure, GHG pricing, and GHG products company integrating multiple Earth, economic, and social transactions to reduce emissions of GHGs. PαC creates new forest carbon storage products by commercialising and deploying patented technologies and services developed by Planetary Emissions Management Inc. (PEM). PαC has entered into a license and collaboration agreement, whereby PαC will be able to use PEM’s patented technologies.
  • RedHouse: RedHouse Virtual Education is a team of educators, developers, designers and innovators founded in 2016 to change and develop the new medium for education by using VR and mix reality application for Microsoft HoloLens and ViVE device. RedHouse believes that Virtual Education will engage students at a higher level of cognitive education and will advance students by advancing their learning through a “theory of successful intelligence” models. 
  • Stroll: Stroll provides patented, “smart-city” marketing and analytics technology that empowers cities, tourism boards and merchants to drive and track regional economic development and commerce in near real-time. 
  • The Virtual Wild: An Innovation Studio, marketing agency, engineering firm and a creative design group all in one. The Virtual Wild is home to experts in everything from engineering to creative strategy — blurring the boundaries between marketing, art, and technology. We love to develop custom solutions that will surpass even the highest expectations.

The cohort was introduced at the Dallas Innovation Alliance’s Munch & Learn event and will begin the six-month program in June.

“We are excited to announce the inaugural cohort of companies for the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator out of our West End location,” states Alyce Alston, CEO of The DEC Network. “We are grateful for the cooperation of these leading companies and universities in the Smart Cities space. And we are thrilled to support the great work that the Dallas Innovation Alliance has done in partnership with the City of Dallas and its collaborators through the Smart Cities Living Lab and the Dallas Innovation District. We look forward to bringing our background and experience in helping to accelerate startups through education, mentorship, and community to this important initiative.”

By taking a regional approach, the incubator’s mission is to support and highlight the burgeoning DFW ecosystem of companies focused on building products and technologies in sub-sectors including data analytics and visualisation, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, blockchain, augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR), and beyond. The application of these technologies seeks to improve eight areas of civic innovation: 

  1. Citizen Engagement/Services
  2. Equity/Inclusion
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Governance
  5. Mobility
  6. Public Health/Healthcare
  7. Public Safety 
  8. Sustainability

“We have appreciated our partnership with The Dallas Innovation Alliance over the past three years,” comments T.C. Broadnax, city manager for the City of Dallas. “The City’s chief information officer and inaugural chief innovation officer look forward to finding ways to engage with these emerging tech companies as we formulate non-traditional approaches and solutions to the needs of our city and residents.”

Participating startups in the six-month program will receive exclusive access to education, mentorship, networking, programming, products and services, connections to leading corporations and access to capital channels. Programs and events open to the larger community will also be offered by the incubator.

“Through our work with the Dallas Innovation Alliance and Innovation District, we’ve had a front-row seat for Dallas’ entrepreneurial and civic innovation enabled by smart cities technology,” said Mike Zeto, vice president and general manager of smart cities, AT&T. “By providing resources, education and training to the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator, we can empower bright minds in our city to address today’s greatest challenges and effectively grow the smart city solutions marketplace.”

“Innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand,” said Steve Guengerich, clinical associate professor at UT Dallas’s Jindal School of Management and lead for the university’s Innov8te partnership. “Our students and alumni are increasingly proposing new ventures in the Innov8te civic innovation themes. Further, our research faculty, led by the Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science, is already a leader in IoT and other baseline areas of smart cities innovation. We are excited to bring these UT Dallas stakeholders together, through joint education and projects at Innov8te, with the other founding collaborators.” 

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