By Martin Olczyk, Managing Director of the Torino Cities of the Future Techstars Accelerator
After working with and investing in more than twenty smart mobility companies over the last two years of programs, I’m delighted to announce that, as of today, we will be expanding our program to invest with a broader scope and becoming Italy’s first-ever accelerator focused on Smart Cities. We are very excited to build on the successful partnership with our three partners, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione CRT, and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center. The accelerator will continue to be headquartered at OGR Torino. We’re humbled and grateful for the support and trust from our partners and I couldn’t be more excited about this expansion of the investment thesis.
Why now? Why the focus on Smart Cities?
Urbanization is a never-ending problem. Today, more than 55% of the global population live in cities, a number that’s expected to reach 68% by 2050 according to the United Nations. With population growth, urbanization will add another 2.5 billion people to cities over the next three decades. Environmental, social, and economic sustainability is a must to keep pace with this rapid expansion exploiting our planets’ resources.
Cities will need to find new solutions for their growing populations, transportation, housing, energy, and infrastructure challenges, as well as for employment and basic services such as education and health care. There is a big need to promote and transform our cities so they are more accessible, inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
Over the past few months, we have worked hard to align the accelerator program with the fast-growing Smart City environment in Turin in order to provide the best possible experience for our founders. Over the past two years we’ve invested in amazing companies solving problems within mobility, but also tackling Smart City problems. Turin is evolving fast and offering unique opportunities for Smart City and Smart Mobility entrepreneurs.
Torino City Lab – a program run by the Municipality of Turin - is offering testing solutions for autonomous mobility solutions, drones, 5G, data, circular economy, aerospace, health, and robotic companies. With more than seventy leading Italian and international companies on site, Torino City Lab fosters a great environment for entrepreneurs to connect with future clients and partners early on.
The House of Emerging Technologies involves the Municipality, Universities, and top companies, providing working and testing spaces with top-level infrastructures (5G access, advisory and financial support) to enable innovative technologies applied to Smart Road, Urban Air Mobility, Industry 4.0, and innovative services for Public Administration. The goal is not only attracting talented entrepreneurs but also offering support and providing long-term backing and benefits.
Harvard University recently chose Turin as a Smart City Urban Lab and will launch a series of events in the upcoming years, and Turin is a final city candidate to host the Italian Institute of Artificial Intelligence, with the goal to create a research and technology transfer structure and attract experts from Italy and abroad.
Turin is fast becoming a Smart City, and your company can be part of it.
What does the investment thesis expansion mean for entrepreneurs interested in the program and what are we looking for?
Smart Mobility will still play an important role in the new program. We are working on developing more partnerships with world-leading companies and we’ll bring more stellar mentors and investors to the program, creating more opportunities & serendipitous moments for founders to meet great people.
We’ll continue to invest up to $120,000 per company and we will invest in more industries. The city of Turin is focusing on six macro-themes for the future of its Smart City, and we will align our investment scope with these themes, looking at industries that are also part of the OGR Torino ecosystem and key areas of focus for our accelerator partners:
Digital Health (Health Information Systems, Telemedicine, Ambient Assisted Living)
In addition, we are interested in companies that are using data and technology (big data, AI, IoT (Internet of Things), DLT (Distributed Ledger Technologies) to make better decisions in a broad set of industries:
Security (Civil & Cyber)
Energy, Water, and Waste
Engagement and Community
Sustainability across the SDG spectrum
In short, our investment scope is broadly defined. We are looking for resourceful founders, ideas that solve real problems, strong execution skills, and the willingness to learn from and work with amazing mentors. If you are not sure if your company fits one of the above verticals, sign-up for office hours and we’ll figure it out together.
Applications are open now through October 27. There are many opportunities to meet us and learn more about the program.
We offer virtual office hours and are traveling across several European cities. Follow our Linkedin page to stay tuned.
During office hours, you’ll have 20-minutes to present your company. Come prepared and answer one question for yourself: Why should you join the program?
We highly recommend reading our FAQs to learn more about Techstars accelerators and checking out our program website. We also highly recommend visiting our application FAQ, which provides all the necessary answers for a great application.
We’re excited to kick off the next program at OGR Torino, Italy’s largest tech hub, on January 24, 2022.
The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,500 companies with a combined market cap of more than $220B. www.techstars.com
Martin is an MD at Techstars, and with more than 10 years of experience in the tech industry, he is currently running the Torino Cities of the Future Accelerator in Torino, Italy. Previously, he was running the Smart Mobility Accelerator and was the MD at accelerator programs in Berlin and Amsterdam.