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Calling all disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs!


The Future of our Cities: Shark Tank Reverse Pitch is a catalyst that connects government, start-up funders, talent and others in the innovation and technology markets to find ways to use automation, connectivity and other tech solutions to advance livability, mobility, and sustainability.


The Future of our Cities: Shark Tank Reverse Pitch is a novel way to help scale ideas, learn about new innovations and find ways that the public sector can help partner with private innovators to expand Minnesota’s leadership. We invite you to submit your ideas AND join us on Monday, September 20th as we accelerate innovation during Twin Cities Startup Week at the third annual Future of our Cities track session held at the University Enterprise Labs.  This will be our first annual Future of our Cities: Shark Tank Reverse Pitch Event!


This is a chance for government to engage innovators and startups on how we can create bold, new solutions to the challenge of creating how we will live and move in the future – when our world is safer, faster, smarter and more connected.



What's a reverse pitch? This is our pitch to our local entrepreneurs and innovators for help with solving some of the industry's leading problems.  Reverse Pitches focus on the big opportunities and challenges in our key areas:


Livability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community's quality of life—including the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and equity, educational opportunity, physical and mental health, safety, cultural, entertainment, and recreation possibilities, and in a post-pandemic world digital and tech equity. 


Future mobility is about striving towards environment-friendly, integrated, automated and personalized travel on demand.  It is simply what will happen to our transportation needs in the future. Examples like: A significant reduction in transport costs from reduced travel expenses and insurance premiums. Reduction in time taken for deliveries. A huge improvement in mobility for the disabled and elderly.  Safer roadways with less injuries and fatalities


Sustainability is maintaining the balance between the environment, equity, and economy while meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In recent times though resiliency, restoration, regeneration, and reparation have become inherent aspects of sustainability, any future infrastructure development, and solutions that are being built for rural, urban, and periurban cities and communities.

the livability reverse pitch

The livability challenge is: 


In a Post Pandemic and George Floyd world, how do we make the communities and cities of MN the 'most livable and equitable' in the US?

- given our vast natural, educational, business, public, private, civic assets, 

- and leveraging digital and smart technologies, intelligent design and data science? 


You can choose any of the above livability factor(s) that your idea/start-up best aligns with. 


For example:  


- In a post-pandemic world how are you impacting equitable access to tech and digital skills for the multigenerational residents and small/local businesses in our communities to improve their everyday lives and access to tech-enabled future opportunities?


- Are you building digital and/or physical infrastructure and/or services that will impact and be available to any community - in areas such as education, childcare, economic, safety, mental health, or others?


- Are you building a Smart City application/solution to improve/transform any of the livability factors mentioned above?


- How are you reimagining/repurposing the use of the excess built environment in our cities in the post-pandemic world?


- How are you addressing affordable, safe, and healthy housing for our communities?


- How are you reimagining urban planning post 2020 with an eye on balancing the built and natural environments?


- How are you addressing cultural, recreational, and entertainment opportunities as a key pillar of a community?


- As every community and/or city has its unique dimensions/context, how are you addressing place/community-specific livability improvement? 


- If you are a place-based entrepreneur, we would love to hear about how you are solving for unique needs and/or leveraging local assets/opportunities in your business as well as creating a positive impact in the community?

the mobility reverse pitch

the mobility challenge is:


Come up with new ways to use intelligent transportation system technologies and connected and automated vehicle technologies to solve some of our largest challenges under the Minnesota CAV Challenge, including:

 -  Pilots and deployments – Safely test and deploy ITS and CAV emerging tech

-   Equity and mobility for all – How can we use emerging transportation tech to fill gaps in the transportation system to ensure that people with disabilities, people with lower incomes, and people experiencing transportation inequities have affordable access?

-   Winter weather – Test, pilot and develop CAV tech that works in snow, ice, fog, sleet and rain to make sure emerging tech reaches all Minnesota communities

-   Safety and Public health– How can emerging technologies increase public health, reduce traffic fatalities and injuries and promote a more healthy, active society?

-   Empowering community engagement – How can engage community stakeholders to learn abut how tech could impact their future and help us plan and prepare for changes in emerging technology? How can we build public trust in technology?

-   Economic Development & Public-private Partnerships - Bring partners into Minnesota transportation program to grow and inviting private industry to Minnesota. Find new ways to leverage public funding with private dollars and programs.

-   Workforce Development and Preparation – How can we train and grow our workforce to adapt to emerging tech and benefit from changes in technology?

the sustainability reverse pitch

The key challenges that we are looking to solve for leveraging smart, digital, and other technologies, intelligent design, and data along with the above context in mind are as follows:  


- Resilient and climate-proof infrastructure

- Zero-emission energy, water, materials, food, transportation, and/or infrastructure

- Energy, food and water security and resiliency

- Smart and efficient energy 

- Resilient and green local economy with new jobs and career pathways

- Incentives for local developers and industries

- Increased economic, social and environmental equity across all communities


Who is behind the Future of our Cities:Shark Tank Reverse Pitch?

The Future of our Cities: Shark Tank Reverse Pitch is hosted by The PLUM Catalyst - a strategy and innovation consulting firm founded with the intention of bringing together innovative public/private/research/non-profit stakeholder teams to help be a catalyst for new mobility technologies and innovations in smart community and government deployments AND MnDOT’s Connected and Automated Vehicle Office (CAV-X) - the state’s leading expert on transportation tech and evolution - in partnership with Launch Minnesota - the state’s initiative to grow Minnesota’s innovation ecosystem and support startups and foster new technologies. 


Final pitches will be held at the 3rd annual Future of our Cities Track with Twin Cities Start Up Week, hosted by Smart North, a coalition of public, private, civic, education, and entrepreneurial individuals and organizations driving “Smart City” initiatives and thought-leadership within the Twin Cities and Minnesota. 


We know Minnesota has great ideas and creative entrepreneurs... Let's get them out!  

Ideas will be judged by our Twin Cities Start Up Week Future of our Cities Review Committee (to be announced)

The Twin Cities Start Up Week: Future of Our Cities full track information can be found here



The PLUM Catalyst

Smart North

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