Press Release

QBE North America and Leading Cities Announce AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge Finalists

Leading Cities, a global nonprofit driving city resiliency and sustainability, in partnership with QBE Insurance Group revealed ten of the world’s foremost urban technology startups in its QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge finalist line-up. Currently in its fourth year, the program has become one of the largest of its kind in the world and has had major success with its unique approach to bridging the gap between startup companies and cities. AcceliCITY alumni have already raised upwards of $400 million, and many have since deployed their solutions in cities to improve the equity, resilience and safety of our urban centers. 

“Challenges such as climate change, population density, cyber risk, and pandemics are hastening the need to build thriving, resilient cities and implement new solutions that will change the world,” said Mike Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “The world’s ability to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and our commitment to making a meaningful impact towards climate resilience and sustainability is only intensified by our collaboration with QBE.”

“As a company that helps people and businesses protect themselves from risk, QBE understands the role we can play in helping our cities and local governments build resiliency and prepare for the environmental and economic risks that they are faced with,” said Chris Castaldo, Chief Financial Officer at QBE, who serves as Executive Sponsor of the program. “Our partnership with Leading Cities, which is in its fourth year, directly links our values and purpose to enable a more resilient future by supporting innovative solutions for our communities, customers, and employees.”

This year, these globally sourced, expert-vetted startups were selected from among the more than 550 companies that applied from 70 countries. The entrepreneurs leading these ventures are committed to tackling common city challenges ranging from fresh food shortage, digital infrastructure and communications technology to public transportation, renewable energy, and more. Ninety semi-finalists were previously selected and participated in a business-to-government and capital acquisition focused, web-based curriculum. Each of these teams received one-on-one mentorship from global experts. Now, the ten finalists will forge ahead in the AcceliCITY Virtual Boot Camp (October 3rd to the 6th) and compete for $100,000 in pilot project funding.  

AcceliCITY lowers the cost of innovation for startups as well as governments by reorganizing the innovation and implementation cycles for Smart City solutions. Leading Cities’ AcceliCITY program connects startup’s smart solutions directly with business users and provides the proper channels, training, and knowledge to implement in cities.

About the Finalists

  1. Plumis developed a fire suppression product – Automist – to improve fire safety and leverage technology to reduce damage that’s caused by slow-growing fires or traditional sprinkler systems.
  2. SAVRpak is a technology that helps double the shelf life of produce without chemicals, enabling a wider range of healthy foods to ship to food deserts and areas that may not have access to fresh food otherwise.
  3. EagleRidge Innovation uses a MicroPop high pressure solution to break apart the cells of waste created by sewage. This allows more of the waste to be eliminated at a wastewater treatment facility rather than shipping it to dumping locations and creates more nutrients that can be used as fertilizer with technology add-ons.
  4. RunWithIt Synthetics helps communities prepare for a variety of scenarios from extreme weather to equity. This company's 3D Synthetic City Simulations brings diverse stakeholders and experts together to produce decision support data.
  5. Automedi turns plastic waste collected by subscribers through smart bins into new, on-demand products via spools of 3D printing filament. Product orders from local businesses are fulfilled made-to-order through their e-commerce platform.
  6. Project Plastic developed the world's first affordable, portable, and environmentally friendly microplastic sequestration device designed to work in active rivers, called the Plastic Hunter.
  7. Zip Charge democratizes access to clean, low-cost energy wherever people need it – to charge an EV, to power the home, or access energy on the go. Their product GoHub is an innovative form of public infrastructure that combines charging, portable power, and energy storage.
  8. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment provides a smart, simple, and efficient planting technology to green indoor/outdoor surfaces where conventional planting is impossible.
  9. Stormseal is a polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to securely wrap a damaged roof or structure. Unlike tarpaulins, Stormseal stays put until permanent repairs can be made, resisting wind, rain, and hail, and preventing further distress and costly damage. 
  10. SDG Assessment’s web based and mobile app helps small businesses and fast growth companies report sustainability, ESG & corporate social responsibility performance.

People’s Choice Award Winners
On September 13, 2022, Chris Castaldo and Mike Lake helped determine which two of these revolutionary organizations would receive a People’s Choice Award along with $25,000 to support their dreams. SAVRpak and Stormseal were announced as the recipients of the awards and will now move forward to the final global competition in November.

About Leading Cities
Leading Cities connects cities across the globe with innovations and insight to drive resiliency, equity, and sustainability. This is achieved by cultivating a global network of forward thinkers from the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors as well as delivering advanced research, emerging trends and vetting solutions that will address urban challenges. The AcceliCITY program aims to de-risk innovation for cities by sourcing and vetting solutions that will answer their most pressing challenges. Additional information can be found at or by following Leading Cities on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

About QBE
QBE North America is a global insurance leader focused on helping customers solve unique risks, so they can focus on their future. Part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, QBE North America reported Gross Written Premiums in 2021 of $6.29 billion. QBE Insurance Group's 2021 results can be found at

Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 27 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through its insurance company subsidiaries. The actual terms and conditions of any insurance coverage are subject to the language of the policies as issued. QBE insurance companies are rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and "A+" by Standard & Poor's. Additional information can be found at or follow QBE North America on LinkedIn and Twitter.