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EID, Singularity U. taking applications for accelerator

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Secure Erie Accelerator (SEA) – sponsored by the Mercyhurst University-led Erie Innovation District (EID) and supported by Silicon Valley technology leader Singularity University – has begun accepting applications from start-up companies around the world focused on data science, safety and cyber security.

Each of the 10 firms selected will be eligible to receive up to $100,000 in funding through the Erie Innovation District and Ben Franklin Technology Partners. The companies will participate in a 10-week program in Erie this summer, during which they’ll have access to Singularity’s expert faculty, proven innovation tools and methods, and a vast network of industry experts and entrepreneurs to provide mentorship and access to funding.

The SEA is the first initiative of its kind in Erie. When the EID and Singularity announced their partnership on the accelerator in March, EID President and CEO Karl Sanchack said the accelerator would help create an entirely new level of innovation and entrepreneurship in the City of Erie.

“This is a critical step in building recognition on a national and international stage as the destination city of choice for data science, safety and cyber security,” he said.

Generally, the accelerator is open to any disruptive technology in these fields; however, the SEA is particularly interested in how those technologies apply to smart cities, especially in terms of innovative solutions to security issues. The City of Erie announced on Thursday, April 19, that it was launching a Secure Smart City™ pilot project in downtown Erie.

The Erie Innovation District and Singularity University will choose 10 businesses focused on one or more of the following:

Network Security

Insurtech / Telematics

Web / Mobile Security

Data Security and Analytics

Identity Security

Transactional Security

Cybersecurity, as it relates to the development and operation of a smart city

AI / ML

Singularity will provide access to its faculty and programs, identify mentors from large companies and startups across the globe to provide expertise on industry and technology, and assign mentors to the team for which their expertise will be most valuable. The EID, as well as Dell EMC and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, will facilitate web services, legal support, financial services, and tax planning for the 10 businesses.

Startups, ranging from early-stage companies with working prototypes of their products to those beginning to grow their revenue, can learn more at https://su.org/secure-erie-accelerator/. They can apply online at https://www.f6s.com/secureerieaccelerator2018/apply.

Local businesses, organizations and individuals can also get involved in the Secure Erie Accelerator as sponsors, partners or mentors, or by investing resources, expertise or in-kind support.

Sanchack said sponsoring companies can choose to develop new products outside their traditional - often slower - R&D processes and gain the help of outside experts and resources. They will also get a first look at the most cutting-edge startups as well as possible market disruptions these startups represent, helping them to formulate better strategies for their own futures. Sponsors and partners will gain full access to accelerator classes and presentations from subject matter experts in all areas around smart-city technologies and innovation. For more information, visit https://su.org/secure-erie-accelerator/.

“With Singularity University's support, Erie will have the opportunity to integrate West Coast innovation concepts into its existing networks,” said Singularity’s Benjamin King, senior director, Corporate Innovation. “Over the past decade, business accelerator programs tailored to the unique strengths of a given community have emerged as key engines for generating innovation, new businesses and new jobs.”