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What Mexico and Norway Have in Common...

Wait, what? Yes, yes, we know. Bare with us!

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So, some of you may know that yours truly (Mariela, I'm back from my honeymoon!) spoke on a panel about "Place Intelligence" last week in Mexico City as part of the Smart Cities Exchange conference (on the tail end of said honeymoon - yeah, I know, I really need to learn how to take actual vacations!). It was a fascinating conference about how best to accelerate the adoption of the Smart City movement in Mexico, covering cybersecurity, public participation, the rapidly evolving role of cars in the mobility space - all important, albeit expected topics. But when I saw the Ambassador to Mexico from Norway took the stage, I grinned a little...well, probably a LOT...given the news we are about to share with you...

First, of course, it is ironic that Mexico called upon Nordic countries to share their lessons learned about how best to advance toward adopting Smart City practices - over and above their very close neighbors to the North. Potential political slights aside (there were a few of us from the US there for sure...but interestingly mostly us people of color), there's good reason for this - Scandinavian countries are significantly ahead of us here in the U.S. when it comes to implementing Smart everything - starting from a human-centered urban fabric to digitally-powered citizen engagement to smart classrooms. 

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But the reason for that grin was a deep sense of validation that the decision I had just made, to give away equity for the first time in my baby, State of Place (eep!!) was indeed an excellent one. What better omen do you need than a panel called "The Vikings are Coming: The Nordic Smart City Model" being showcased in the same conference you're speaking at - in Mexico! - when the ink's still wet on our acceptance agreement to an exciting new accelerator program in Oslo! 

 Andy having fun and networking in Norway! Image via  Katapult Facebook .

Andy having fun and networking in Norway! Image via Katapult Facebook.

So without further ado, we are ecstatic to announce we have accepted an offer to participate in the highly competitive accelerator program Katapult Accelerator in Oslo, Norway! Check out the details below!

What is Katapult?

Katapult is a 3-month accelerator program focused on environmental and social impact companies (we do both ;)) who want to harness the power of exponential technologies, including AI (um, yes please) and blockchain (admittedly still deciphering this entire world, thought got a 101 overview while in Kickstart in Zurich). They connect you to an amazing global network of mentors (although in a totally small world moment, we got connected to a fellow NYU prof and Founder of BuildAcademy!!), provide a modest monetary investment, and of course provide you with the opportunity to access further capital and investors (email us to learn more about our Seed Round!). We're so excited to be a part of their Batch 2! Our CTO, Andy Likuski is already there and making great connections. I will arrive March 13th!

Why Katapult?

So one of the things we love most about Katapult is that they are DATAGEEKS - just like us! Not only will we be quantitatively measuring our progress (makes total sense to monitor our before-after too given how much we love the streets kind!), we have set two very specific goals we're working toward. For now, we're keeping the exact deets to ourselves, but here's a hint - they have to do with 1) YOU, our customers and 2) delivering even more value to YOU (i.e., we want even more of YOU and we want to make you even HAPPIER). Please do stay tuned while we keep you abreast of our progress - or come say hola to us in Oslo!