01Soofa creates solar electronic paper displays to improve community interaction with hyperlocal content and ads anyone can use
02HQ in Cambridge, MA, United States
03The company aims to become an information hub able to provide any data an urban center may need, from weather to pollution levels and people flows.
The neighborhood newsfeed
● Public e-paper screens work as a collaborative newsfeed with hyperlocal information provided by officials, citizens and companies.
● This new form of public amenity is also a data collection center with sensors for city planners and business in a non-invasive way
● Total control
Hardware and Software, in house
● Their engineers designed everything, including the sensor and power boards
● Soofa is also in charge of selling the advertisements, performing data analytics and curate the community content
● Open posting
A hyperlocal platform
● The signs are open to neighborhood people to post news, events and ads creating a feed of relevant local content
A facebook wall for the neighborhood
● Smart signs
Signs change content every 10 minutes to engage passerby attention, displaying community information and up to 10 advertisers
All signs use a cellular connection to Soofa HQ, transmiting sensor data
The 42” display uses electronic ink, like a giant kindle. It boasts a 150 dpi resolution, being more clear and easier to read than LCD displays
● Smart bench
Soofa first product in smart city furniture is a connected bench that uses solar power to work as a cell charging station, but also providing a wi-fi connection. The bench can be equipped with sensors sending local data for analysis
● Community platform
Their self-serve platform to post or schedule content: it empowers community members to share relevant local content, businesses of all sizes to engage with customers, artists to showcase their work, and cities to better communicate with their citizens
B The Biz
04Soofa is a female founded company, launched out of MIT and Harvard in 2014
● Biz Model
The data behind cities
● Cities, companies and organizations can get Soofa’s smart benches and signs in communal areas. The company charges for data analytics reports on activity around the products to help planners and developers.
● For example, a city park might be measured to know popular times and visit density, that can help with maintenance programming or even calculate events attendance to evaluate marketing actions.
● Brands can place advertisements on Soofa’s products, as signs directly printed on the structure or in digital form using the Talk platform
The company spun out of the MIT Media Lab and got seed funding from Accomplice and the E14 Fund, which invests in Media Lab spinouts
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● E14 Fund
● Pillar VC
● ACG Management
● Underscore VC
● Knight Enterprise Fund
● Momenta Ventures
● Where Angels Fund
● Smart customers
Soofa is present in more than 75 cities
The company also provides companies and organizations like LiveNation, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Fidelity, Wegmans, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and more.
M The Market
05A urban world
According to Markets&Markets, the global IoT in Smart Cities Market is going to grow from USD 113.1 billion in 2020 to USD 260.0 billion by 2025, and North America is expected to hold the highest market share during that period as a leader in tech advancements and home to major IoT companies.
By 2050, more than 70% of the global population is anticipated to live in cities
Asia Pacific is the leading IoT in smart cities market, globally, by volume in 2020
● Market data
Know your info
Increasing urbanization across the globe pushes Public-Private Partnerships that promote smart city initiatives. Reporting and analytics solution is one of the important solutions that enable the authorities to make data-based decisions.
P The People
06Soofa was started by women out of MIT and Harvard. Over half the team, including the leadership team, identifies as female
● Founder & CEO
Sandra Y. Richter
CEO & Co-founder
While at MIT, Sandra worked with municipalities in South Africa, Japan, China, and Europe on smart transportation systems in collaboration with companies like Volkswagen, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon to define smart city strategies and evaluate business models. She co-founded Soofa in 2014 to deploy smart, social, and sustainable city technology in neighborhoods all around the world.
Co-Founder and VP of Operations
Jutta co-founded Xindao’s product design studio and her furniture design studio, MÜ, in Shanghai before earning her Masters at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She now serves as a mentor at the Harvard Innovation Lab and has earned multiple international design awards, including two Red Dot Awards.