In recent years, a variety of forces (economic, environmental, and social) have quickly given rise to “shared mobility,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share transportation resources, save money, and generate capital. Bikesharing services, such as BCycle, and business-to-consumer carsharing services, such as Zipcar, have become part of a sociodemographic trend that has pushed shared mobility from the fringe to the mainstream. The role of shared mobility in the broader landscape of urban mobility has become a frequent topic of discussion. Shared transportation modes—such as bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing, ridesourcing/transportation network companies (TNCs), and microtransit—are changing how people travel and are having a transformative effect on smart cities.
Introducing the Next Wave of Urban Impact Entrepreneurs
How can we find more skilled trades workers to hire locally? Or create a technology to fund the homeless and other neighbors in need? Entrepreneurs have found innovative ways to tackle some of the toughest challenges plaguing cities. In the former case, WorkHands designed a blue collar LinkedIn service to connect workers in the trades with employment opportunities. In the latter, HandUp created a mobile and online donation tool to support the homeless. Both startups represent Tumml entrepreneurs – high growth urban innovators that are creating scalable solutions for city problems.
When Tumml launched a search for its Winter 2014 cohort, we were impressed by the outpouring of applications. From Austin to Accra, we found entrepreneurs working to solve some of the most pressing issues in their communities. They are developing solutions for water storage, transportation, city planning, and so much more.
For our upcoming cohort, we received 130 applications, with two-thirds of the applicant pool coming from outside of the Bay Area. The high quantity and regional diversity of our applicant pool reveals that there is a real movement of entrepreneurs working on consumer-facing products and services that solve city problems – from all across the world.
Without further ado, we are pleased to announce the five new members of Tumml’s Winter 2014 Cohort, which starts today:
The Farmery is an urban vertical farming and retailing system designed to produce and sell local food in the city.
Feeding Forward is a mobile platform that connects those with excess food to those in need.
Neighbor.ly is a toolkit to help people, brands, and foundations to invest in the places and projects they care about.
SavySwap is a secure experience to get what you want simply by trading.
Sovi is a pinboard for local and community events.
These companies will spend the next four months working in Tumml’s office space in downtown San Francisco, receiving mentorship from a group of accomplished urbanites (like the Director of Public Policy at Airbnb), as well as $20,000 in seed funding. We are thrilled to welcome these five companies to the Tumml family and look forward to seeing them grow with us!
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
A study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2008 found that the impact of routine weather events on the US economy equates annually to about 3.4% of the country’s GDP (about $485 billion). This excludes the impact of extreme weather events that cause damage and disruption – after all, even “ordinary” weather affects supply of and demand for many items, and the propensity of businesses and consumers to buy them. NCAR found that mining and agriculture are particularly sensitive to weather influences, with utilities and retail not far behind.
Many of these, disaster management included, are the focus of smart city innovations. Not surprisingly, therefore, as they seek to improve and optimize these systems, smart cities are beginning to understand the connection between weather and many of their goals. A number of vendors (for example, IBM, Schneider Electric, and others) now offer weather data-driven services focused specifically on smart city interests.
Urban Planning Today: Perception vs. Reality When the planning profession was still nascent in the 1950’s, well defined social needs and the desire to improve poor living conditions were the dominant basis for policy and regulation. By the time the 1970’s and 80’s...