City of Durham NIS Community Engagement

Durham Announces Partners for Innovation Partnership Program

Durham Announces Partners for Innovation Partnership Program

Four local startup companies will now get their chance to bring new ideas into City Hall and test out their innovative solutions to Bull City challenges. 

The City of Durham Office of Performance and Innovation has chosen four partners for the 2017 Innovate Durham program, a pilot that gives startups and entrepreneurs a way to test their products or services using City data and infrastructure. The City received 34 applications from companies interested in participating in the program. A review committee narrowed the field down to four participants who each bring a unique, innovative solution to the program.

The companies were selected using several criteria, including the ability to support economic vitality or improve City operations, creativity and compatibility of the technology as well as whether they would help the City advance its Strategic Plan. The four companies selected are all local to the Triangle, and three have offices in downtown Durham. The partners are: 

  • Dropark - a real-time parking app to help visitors find available public or private parking near their destination.
  • Talented - an experiential learning game platform that gamifies trainings to help improve learning.
  • 8 Rivers Networks - an optical wireless communications system that delivers gigabit speeds over air instead of fiber.
  • Lucid Dream VR - a virtual and augmented reality company that can visualize un-built structures or overlay data sets.

According to Josh Edwards, director of the City's Office of Performance and Innovation, the program provides a unique opportunity for local startups. "These four companies will get a chance to develop a use case with a large city, and for some of them, we'll be their first customer," Edwards said. "At the same time, the City gets to explore, at no cost, how new technologies may improve our operations. It's a win-win." 

The pilot period for each company will run from October 6 through the end of 2017. Each partner will meet regularly with the Office of Performance and Innovation as well as selected City departments to help test their products. In January 2018, the partners will present their technology services and discuss the pilot period at a Demo Day, which will be open to the public. 

"We're really excited about this first cohort of companies,"  Edwards said. "They each have a unique idea and approach to improving City services, plus the group shows off the robust startup scene we have here in Durham and the Triangle."

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