Startup competitions seeking smart city companies

Steven Loeb · February 8, 2018 · Short URL:

They include The World Smart City Awards, Smart City Hack and Smart Cities Startup Challenge

If you're a startup seeking opportunities to get funded, educated or connected, startup competitions are a great resource.

Vator has been holding its own competitions, using VatorX, to find and filter for the best startups. We've had some very successful and notable winners in the past that have gone on to raise big funding rounds including Thumbtack, DogVacay, Pokitdok, Grovo, Udemy and Apartment List, to name a few.

Anyone can list their program as VatorX is one of the most comprehensive listing guides to startup competitions, challenges, accelerators and programs. Click here to list your program!

As part of our weekly series, we'll look at top competitions with big cash prizes, as well as competitions that have teed up the most promising startups, to finding popular startup competitions you need to know about. 

Here are some of the startup competitions that are focused on the smart city space:


Description: "Digital Leaders Ventures ‘FIA Smart Cities Startup‘ is an international entrepreneurship contest for the world’s most innovative and impactful technology companies. The contest is held four times a year on four different continents, North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia."


  • A minimum of $100,000 USD in Funding at fair and transparent terms
  • Access to the network of the FIA, DLV and our partners
  • Positive Awareness and Media coverage
  • A special invitation to a Formula E Race

Previous winners: Grupo PTM, Econduce, HEVO Power

Description: "The Urban Future Competition debuts the world’s most revolutionary smart mobility, smart city, and smart grid technologies by bringing the brightest entrepreneurs together with mission-driven investors, policy leaders, and corporate sponsors for a prestigious pitch competition in NYC."

Prize: Three winners get a $50,000 cash prize and admission into the ACRE incubator at UFL, NYC’s longest running cleantech incubator program.

Previous winners: Tagup, Fentrend, Highview Power Storage


Smartcities Startup Challenge

Description: "There is an enormous global opportunity for startups to bring new technologies and solutions to cities and help solve major civic challenges such as transportation, health, energy and pollution. Unfortunately, there are often bureaucratic process and policies that get in the way of startups meeting and engaging with key city officials or influencers in order to gain traction. By partnering with Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo, the Smart Cities Startup Challenge allows startups to pitch, engage and receive feedback from city officials and representatives as well as investors and thought leaders in this space."

Prize: Selected Startups will receive one full-registration waiver and will be included in the Smart Cities Opportunity Report and Innovation Networking System. Selected startups will be offered the additional purchase opportunity to showcase at Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo.

Previous winners: Smarter Sorting, Tolemi, SPLT


Description: In order to identify cities, projects and innovative ideas in line with promoting sustainable urban development around the globe, the prestigious World Smart City Awards were established and are one of the key activities at the leading event. The aim of these internationally acclaimed awards is to recognize, promote and support pioneering city strategies, projects and ideas that can potentially change citizen's lives through their outstanding innovation, impact and feasibility, as well as stimulating inclusive, equitable, safe, healthy and collaborative cities, thus enhancing quality of life for all."

Prize: Not specified

Previous winners: NHTV, Home Net Thailand, Dubai Smart Office, SEAT

Description: "Young innovators and Start-ups will be identified, trained and mentored to create sustainable solutions for Smart Cities through a nation-wide Smart City Challenge in collaboration with 1M1B (1 Million for 1 Billion) Foundation and Global Social Venture Competition, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business."

Prize: Teams compete for a series of prizes totaling $80,000

Previous winners: None yet

עיריית תל-אביב-יפו - עמוד הבית

Description: "Start Tel Aviv is a global competition held by The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City of Tel Aviv, bringing together startups from 20 countries from around the world to compete for the opportunity to take part in an intensive program to experience Tel Aviv's startup ecosystem during the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival. Competitions are held in each of the participating countries to identify a leading startup, with the winners representing some of the best startups in the world."

Prize: A 5 days, all-expenses paid trip where the 20 winners, will participate in lectures, workshops and meetings with leading Israeli investors and professionals.

Previous winners: 3asyR


Smart City Hack

Description: "Smart City Hack was created to empower citizen around the world to create their smart cities. Our aim is to help local entrepreneurs build and showcase tech solutions which answer the most pressing urban challenges facing us all."

Prize: 5 winners, the Best App in each of the 5 categories (Urban Mobility, Culture & Tourism, Energy & Emission, Shopping & Retail, Collaborative City) will get a cash prize of 5,000€ + amazing networking and business opportunities for their app, with +400 worldwide participating cities / +250 companies of the Smart City World Expo and Congress.

Previous winners: CerQana, Storage together, Psonríe


Description: "EBN Member Incubateur Descartes is calling startups operating in the field of future (smart) cities, new digital services, and health and silver economy to apply for its competition by 22nd of January 2018!"


  • 6-36 months of incubation services,
  • Mentoring
  • Feee use of FabLab Descartes, and
  • Up to 15,000 euros financial support to set up their innovative solutions on the new Cité Descartes at Marne-la-Vallée in the Paris region.

Previous winners

Description: "AT&T, in collaboration with the City of Atlanta and Code for Atlanta, recently announced the launch of the Atlanta Civic Coding Competition (C3), which offers the public an opportunity to help solve some of Atlanta’s toughest challenges through an app challenge. The C3 program will allow individuals and teams from the non-profit, start-up and educational communities to help make #AtlantaSmarter by developing an app using open-sourced data that seeks to solve city challenges."

Prize: First place submission will win $40,000, second place submission will win $15,000 and third place submission will win $5,000.

Previous winners: Paratransit Pal, Emergency Vehicle Assistance, Centree


Description: "The world of retail is changing, and ATTACQ, one of Africa’s leading real estate developers, is looking to partner with startups and new innovative companies to offer a cutting-edge experience in their existing and new developments."

Prize: Attacq Smart Cities Innovation Challenge prize includes LaunchLab support and a share of R100 000

Previous winners: Sxuirrel, Poynt Bikes, Appmit, Drop Car Wash, Hydrogen Fueled Drones, Yshop

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