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These 11 teams will compete at the inaugural Smart City Challenge

Hosted by local nonprofit and accelerator Smart City Works, these finalists built tech solutions to address problems in cities. They now have a chance to compete for more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

The nation's capital. (Photo via Pixabay, used under a Creative Commons license)

D.C.-based tech nonprofit and accelerator Smart City Works has named the finalists for its inaugural Smart City Challenge.

The new challenge calls on innovators to come up with tech solutions to help cities grow across sectors like housing, broadband, education and public safety. The Smart City Challenge kicked off in January with a monthlong hackathon and 49 teams. That pool has been narrowed down to 11 finalists who will virtually pitch at the finale and award event on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. The challenge is hosted in partnership with Refraction, Fairfax County, Girls in Tech DC, Virginia Tech and The Universities at Shady Grove.

(The event was originally scheduled for Feb. 18, but postponed due to possible power outages caused by the forecasted winter storm.)

“We and our partners have been amazed by the ingenuity, creativity and passion of those participating in the Smart City Challenge,” said Smart City Works cofounder Robert Mazer in a statement. “The number of impactful solutions proposed is a true testament to the unbelievable talent in our region. We are excited to take the next step and work with one of the finalists on a pilot project that offers inclusivity and equitable answers to issues that can be solved through smart city technology.”

Working on solutions ranging from a self-activating fire suppression system to software for crowdsourcing trail mapping, here are the 11 finalists teams for the 2021 Smart City Challenge:

  • Autonomous Incident Response System
  • Battery + Fuel Cell
  • Databuoy
  • FireBot
  • FloorVibe
  • KnishKits
  • Smart City Trails
  • TRAXyL
  • VIA
  • Haven
  • Mobility Orb

Haven and Mobility Works are the only two student-run teams to make the finals. You can read up on the tech solutions these teams are working on here.

These teams will be competing for a chance to win portions of the more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes up for grabs. Winners will be selected by an expert panel of judges that includes D.C.’s CTO Lindsey Parker. The audience will have a chance to vote for their favorite to win the People’s Award as well. The finale event will be joined by various speakers including U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue.


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