More than half of Canadian millennials (59 per cent) believe that a smart city would improve their quality of life, with 33 per cent of Gen Xers and 29 per cent of Baby Boomers agreeing, according to a new survey from INFINITI LAB, a Smart Cities and Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator from premium car brand INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. The survey also found that 42 per cent of all Ontarians believe that smart cities will increase their quality of life — the highest percentage of any province. In particular, Canadians are most excited about the potential of electric vehicles, with 62 per cent of Canadians referring to it as the most exciting auto technology trend of 2018.

INFINITI believes in innovation and entrepreneurship, and today has announced the nine startups that will participate in the second Toronto-based INFINITI LAB accelerator. The startups will join the six-week program beginning June 5 where they’ll undergo targeted training, expert mentorship from industry leaders and access to a network of partners and investors, including Alliance Ventures. Operated by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Alliance Ventures targets technology and business models with a venture fund of up to $1 billion USD.

“Canadian millennials believe in the potential of smart cities, and desire technology such as electric vehicles, autonomous driving and ridesharing that could improve their daily lives,” said Adam Paterson, managing director of INFINITI Canada. “The nine startups we have selected reflect the needs of the participants in our survey – they are forward, innovative and daring. We are committed to sourcing and nurturing up-and-coming companies, and the nine startups in this program have the potential to make our cities smarter.”

The startups selected solve various pain-points for Canadians: ShiftRide and DriveHER could democratize Canadians’ access to rides; ClutchUTO and Ordermotive have built technologies that streamline the vehicle purchasing process; Brisk Synergies and Acerta aim to keep Canadians safe on the road; Sylidra connects drivers to their dealerships and enhances the client-dealer relationship; and SmartTones allows Canadians to interact with brands in meaningful and engaging ways.

At the close of the six-week program, the most promising startup — chosen by a panel of experts at the Demo Day pitch competition — will be fast-tracked into the three-month long global INFINITI LAB program in Hong Kong, where INFINITI is headquartered. The global program places a critical focus on its startups’ growth and includes intensive one-on-one mentorship from INFINITI’s executive team and external subject matter experts in brand, digital, product and network transformation. The Hong Kong program will welcome its fourth cohort in the fall.

To find out more about the program, applicants can visit: www.infiniti.com/lab.

The startups are:

DriveHER is a ridesharing service designed to provide safe rides, enhance community development and empower women, with an alternative transportation service for women by women in Canada.

ShiftRide is a platform that allows users to rent cars owned by others in their community. ShiftRide gives consumers an additional stream of income by allowing them to list their vehicles for rent when they’re not in use.

Clutch provides a seamless solution for potential car owners to test drive vehicles by delivering the car to a user’s door, offering the convenience and price of a peer-to-peer marketplace with the traditional services of a physical dealership.

UTO is a digital marketplace that uses smart contracts to streamline and facilitate the end-to-end vehicle sale process.

Ordermotive connects customers directly to retailers, allowing consumers to set-up financing options and understand payment terms before they test-drive a vehicle.

Brisk Synergies ensures that consumers stay safe by helping transportation authorities to understand road safety problems and identify solutions using automated video analytics. By leveraging the existing traffic CCTV connected cameras infrastructure, BriskVANTAGE continuously monitors traffic flow and risk exposure on the road.

Acerta uses machine learning to provide consumers with real-time malfunction detection and failure prediction. It uses a state-of-the-art machine learning algorithm to allow customers to unlock the full potential of their collected data.

Sylidra is a mobile app that enhances the digital touchpoints of the customer experience, allowing consumers to track their vehicle information, book appointments, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media. Users are able to communicate directly with shops through text and multimedia, while engaging in gamification aspects to earn rewards.

SmartTones is a frictionless system for companies to encode, create and execute smart campaigns. The platform ensures that consumers are instantly immersed in entertaining experiences that they actually want to participate in, engage with and share.

For more media information, please visit INFINITInews.com.