Pilot programs announced as Guelph wraps first round of Civic Accelerator

City’s Water Services and Planning departments to test new tools

Guelph, Ont., February 23, 2017 – The City of Guelph’s Civic Accelerator, which turns the City into a research, development and commercialization lab for civic technology, closed its first round with a Demo Day held yesterday at the University of Guelph. The event hosted representatives of the federal and provincial government, other municipal governments, angel investors, corporate leaders, Accelerator participants and partners, academics and students.

Accelerator Demo Day photo
Civic Accelerator Demo Day hosted on February 22, 2017 at the University of Guelph

Alert Labs and Milieu Technologies showcased products that won each a spot in the Civic Accelerator for their unique ability to solve challenging City issues.

“The Civic Accelerator turns local government into the first customer, and a vital partner, for innovation,” said Cam Guthrie, Mayor of Guelph. “This new way of partnering with startups will play a big role in future economic development along the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor.”

“The Accelerator helps the City of Guelph stay at the cutting edge when it comes to the quality of the services it delivers to residents,” said City of Guelph Chief Administrative Officer, Derrick Thomson. “I’m very pleased this collaborative process between the companies and our Water Services and Planning divisions has created such great results.”

Both Accelerator projects proceeding to formal pilot programs

Alert Labs’ “Flowie” water sensor kit will be included on a trial basis in the City’s Water Efficiency Rebate program. The first 600 Guelph residents who purchase a Flowie device will receive a $50 rebate from the City by using discount code GUELPHSAVESWATER50 when purchasing from Alert Labs. The City will then track the net decrease in water consumption in these homes to make a data-based decision on whether or not the rebate should continue as part of the implementation of the 2016 Water Efficiency Strategy.

“We are thrilled to bring technology to Guelph residents to help them reduce wasted water and avoid unnecessary costs and damage in their homes,” said George Tsintzouras, CEO of Alert Labs. “Working with the City of Guelph’s Water Services professionals enabled Alert Labs to bring a more robust product to a broader market. We’re grateful and excited by the opportunities offered by the Civic Accelerator program.”

Milieu Technologies’ online community engagement platform for city planning will also be used on a trial basis by the City’s development planning team. This will allow residents to

  • sign up for automatic notifications if a new development application consultation opens within a selected geographic area;
  • easily access detailed information on any development project;
  • engage in dialogue with fellow residents, members of City staff and Council about the issues.

“The Civic Accelerator has been a great opportunity for our company,” said Lee-Michael Pronko, co-founder of Milieu. “We look forward to continuing our work with City of Guelph staff and residents over the coming months to support real-time citizen participation and data-driven city building.”

Next round of Civic Accelerator in development

City staff is also planning the next round of the Civic Accelerator, targeting challenges that have the potential for significant operational impact. Applications are expected to launch in the summer and winners are expected to start the embed period in September 2017.

About the Civic Accelerator

The Civic Accelerator is a partnership between the City of Guelph, Innovation Guelph, Canada’s Open Data Exchange, the Guelph Lab the University of Guelph’s CBaSE and the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. The Accelerator enables the City to work with entrepreneurs, startups, students and companies to create innovative solutions for complex municipal challenges.