Category Archives: civic tech

Sean Parker’s Brigade/Causes acquired by govtech app Countable

Causes grew to a jaw-dropping 200 million users as one of the first 10 Facebook platform apps. Started by Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, it was meant to turn a generation into activists and philanthropists. Causes acquired Votizen to augment shallow clicktivism with a way to remind friends to vote. But after Facebook went mobile and the web platform waned, Parker arranged Causes’ sale to his newer civic tech effort Brigade, for which he’d led a $9.3 million Series A and later fed more money. Brigade’s ballot guide […]

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NYC launches partnership network, “The Grid”, to help grow urban tech ecosystem

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and CIV:LAB – a nonprofit dedicated to connecting urban tech leaders – have announced the launch of The Grid, a member-based partnership network for New York’s urban tech community. The goal of the network is to link organizations, academia and local tech leaders, in order to promote collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources. In addition to connecting member companies and talent, The Grid will host various events, educational programs, and co-innovation projects, while hopefully improving access to investors […]

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The economics and tradeoffs of ad-funded smart city tech

In order to have innovative smart city applications, cities first need to build out the connected infrastructure, which can be a costly, lengthy, and politicized process. Third-parties are helping build infrastructure at no cost to cities by paying for projects entirely through advertising placements on the new equipment. I try to dig into the economics of ad-funded smart city projects to better understand what types of infrastructure can be built under an ad-funded model, the benefits the strategy provides to cities, and the non-obvious costs cities have to […]

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How cities can fix tourism hell

A steep and rapid rise in tourism has left behind a wake of economic and environmental damage in cities around the globe. In response, governments have been responding with policies that attempt to limit the number of visitors who come in. We’ve decided to spare you from any more Amazon HQ2 talk and instead focus on why cities should shy away from reactive policies and should instead utilize their growing set of technological capabilities to change how they manage tourists within city lines. Consider this an ongoing […]

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London’s transport regulator looks to startups to help fix urban mobility

London’s transport regulator, TfL has announced a partnership with Bosch for its forthcoming co-working space in Shoreditch. The civic tech project is intended to run for 18 months as a pilot — though Bosch’s ‘Connectory’ co-working facility won’t open until the end of January. A company spokeswoman confirmed the partnership is nonetheless up and running now. The aim of the collaborative project is to share data and expertise, including by tapping into London’s startup ecosystem, to land on new ideas for tackling urban mobility issues — from […]

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Our 3 favorite startups from Urban-X’s 4th demo day

Urban-X, the urban-tech startup accelerator backed by MINI and early-stage urban-tech fund Urban.Us, hosted a demo day today for its fourth cohort of companies at its Brooklyn HQ.  The seven presenting companies offered solutions to issues plaguing modern cities, including toll-road pricing, energy and construction management, and even the inefficiencies of modern cycling helmets. In a day that offered an impressive display of entrepreneurial talent, here are a few of the companies that really stood out to us: Rentlogic In hopes of improving landlord transparency, Rentlogic uses years […]

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