A new survey from Infiniti Lab, a smart cities and Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator from car brand Infiniti Motor Company, Ltd., finds that more than half (59%) of Millennials believe a smart city would improve their quality of life.
Thirty-three per cent of Gen-Xers also believe so, and 29% of Baby Boomers.
Regionally, 42% of Ontarians believe that smart cities will increase their quality of life, which was the highest percentage of any province. In particular, Canadians are most excited about the potential of electric vehicles, with 62% of Canadians referring to it as the most exciting auto technology trend of 2018.
Infiniti has confirmed that nine start-ups will be participating in its second Toronto-based Infiniti Lab accelerator, joining a six-week program to undergo targeted training, expert mentorship from industry leaders, and access to a network of partners and investors, including Alliance Ventures. Operated by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Alliance Ventures targets technology and business models with a venture fund of up to US$1 billion.
"Canadian Millennials believe in the potential of smart cities, and desire technology such as electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and ridesharing that could improve their daily lives," says Adam Paterson, Managing Director of Infiniti Canada. "The nine start-ups we have selected reflect the needs of the participants in our survey - they are forward, innovative, and daring. We are committed to sourcing and nurturing up-and-coming companies, and the nine start-ups in this program have the potential to make our cities smarter."
The startups selected solve various pain-points for Canadians. ShiftRide and DriveHER could democratize Canadians' access to rides; Clutch, UTO and Ordermotive have built technologies that streamline the vehicle purchasing process; Brisk Synergies and Acerta aim to keep Canadians safe on the road; Sylidra connects drivers to their dealerships and enhances the client-dealer relationship; and SmartTones allows Canadians to interact with brands in meaningful and engaging ways.
At the close of the six-week program, the most promising start-up, chosen by a panel of experts at the Demo Day pitch competition, will be fast-tracked into the three-month long global Infiniti Lab program in Hong Kong, where Infiniti is headquartered. The global program places a critical focus on its start-ups' growth and includes intensive one-on-one mentorship from Infiniti's executive team and external subject matter experts in brand, digital, product and network transformation. The Hong Kong program will welcome its fourth cohort in the fall.
Nine startups will complete the Infiniti Lab Toronto program, and the top venture will move on to the Hong Kong program.