HOUSTON, (May 28, 2019) Station Houston, an accelerator for startup technology companies, corporate innovation and entrepreneurship, today announced it is working with Microsoft, Intel®, TX/RX Labs, and the City of Houston on the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator, which will foster the growth of smart city technology in Houston.Plans for the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator were unveiled at a Microsoft IoT in Action event in April. The program will kick off at Station Houston’s headquarters in September 2019 before moving to the Ion. The Ion is the center of gravity for innovation in Houston bringing together entrepreneurs, corporations, and academic institutions to collaborate under one roof, located in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood upon its projected completion in 2021.
“Smart cities aren’t just a pie-in-the-sky vision, they’ll soon be a reality, thanks to the innovative thinking of the world’s leading technology companies like Microsoft and Intel -- and inventive minds of entrepreneurs,” said Gaby Rowe, CEO of Station Houston. “At Station Houston, we’re committed to supporting and meeting the transportation and resiliency needs of Houston’s people through innovative technology -- and the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for startups to help us not only realize our vision, but also the city’s.”
“We’re thrilled that the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator collaboration with Intel, Microsoft, TX/RX Labs, and Station Houston will bring solutions to real-life problems Houstonians face every day,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As a result of incorporating smart technologies, Houston will have the ability to create a more resilient and mobile-friendly city, and in turn accelerate our city’s economic growth and prepare for the needs of 21st Century citizens.”
The Ion Smart Cities Accelerator is a 10-month program that will host at least 10 startups from around the country to participate in the program. TX/RX Labs, a non-profit makerspace, will be instrumental in designing the accelerator’s lab and guiding decisions on equipment purchase and training. The first three months will provide the cohort with a structured curriculum that will focus on two of Houston’s critical needs, which are mobility and resiliency. Following that programming, the startups will focus on prototyping and validating their products to prepare for pilot programs. The second half will provide qualifying startups the opportunity to pilot their prototypes in partnership with the City of Houston to address mobility and resiliency issues in the real world.
“From reducing traffic to keeping the public safe in the wake of a disaster, cities across the country are embarking upon digital transformation journeys to create safer, more intelligent and efficient municipalities,” said Cameron Carr, Director of IoT Strategy and Scale at Microsoft. “Microsoft’s participation in the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator represents our commitment to helping innovators deliver on the vision using the transformative power of IoT.”
“Houston has embarked on a journey to become a leading Smart City. The City’s vision along with Intel technology will provide a scalable blueprint for smart cities across the world. Technologies like 5G and AI, as well as IoT developer toolkits such as the OpenVINO™ toolkit, will accelerate this transformation and offer tangible benefits to citizens in their day to day lives,” said Sajid Khan, Director, Smart Cities Strategy & Marketing at Intel.
“The Ion is excited to team up with Station Houston on the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator program as part of our ongoing efforts to seek out synergistic partnerships that cultivate entrepreneurial ingenuity and advance tech innovation in a host of different disciplines. With Houston’s population expected to swell to over 10 million by the year 2040 — according to METRO Next — it’s imperative for the city and its leaders to implement meaningful, efficient, and forward-thinking infrastructure solutions today that will positively impact all Houstonians for generations to come,” emphasized Allison Thacker, President & Chief Investment Officer of Rice Management Company. “Partnering with industry giants such as Microsoft and Intel is not only a huge boon for The Ion, but for the larger Houston innovation ecosystem, and we share Mayor Turner’s singular focus in pushing the boundaries of what Houston as a city can become in regard to better safety for its citizens, more efficient population mobility, and greater overall access to technological improvements."
About Station Houston
Station Houston's vision is to transform Houston into a world-leading hub for technology innovation and entrepreneurship. This vision unfolds as a vibrant community where people live, work and play, with Station serving as the connective tissue fostering our culture of innovation. Station launched in March 2016 and now serves over 200 startups, 400 members, 130 mentors, and dozens of high-impact strategic partnerships with corporations and service providers that represent the key industries serving the Houston economy.