Our Startup Booster program helps aspiring entrepreneurs who want to turn their business idea into impact-driven startups in the field of urban tech. With over 20 teams ‘boosted’ since our first edition, we look back at 3 successful runs. How are the alumni teams doing now?

Time to discover how CoTowns' technology helps local governments to engage citizens towards sustainable change while rewarding them for their contribution.

CoTown: Technology to better the local economy and urban environment while rewarding citizen engagement

“CoTown deploys technology so that everyone can participate and be rewarded for their contribution in their own environment or within a company. Reward, independent and local are the key words for our technological solution.”

Grégoire Piette | Founder & CEO | CoTown

Technology to stimulate and reward civic engagement

Local governments have numerous policy objectives to reach. Can this be done with the help of citizens - by stimulating and rewarding them to take on communal tasks that positively impact their social and urban environments?

Diving into voluntary contribution rates, CoTown found that 20% of young people contribute to their sports club, 10% work in their school, and 9% help out in a local youth organization. These figures show that the participation of young people in their environment can be further increased. Grégoire Piette, one of the founders of CoTown, wondered how new technology can influence citizen behavior when it comes to participating and contributing to their urban environment.

Now, CoTown provides services and solutions for cities that want to become more sustainable and social. The startup's goal is to help cities boost civic engagement and local economies through the latest technologies.

CoTown

CoTown: Technology to better the local economy and urban environment while rewarding citizen engagement

A success story: 225+ communal tasks done

To stimulate sustainable collaborations locally and promote civic engagement, organizations can now make use of the smart platforms developed by CoTown.

The startup began exploring this idea in 2018 and launched the first proof of concept with the City of Heerlen in the South of the Netherlands. 't Heerlen’s Heitje** platform was launched in October 2021 and citizens of Heerlen are rewarded for their help with small neighborhood jobs like renovating a bench or a bin. Now, 228 tasks have been done by citizens. Also, 28 shops have joined the scheme and 7000 euros worth of Heitje 'coins' have been converted.

CoTown is currently looking at a subscription-based license fee for other municipalities depending on the number of inhabitants and additional local organizations' accounts that are added to the platform.

** 't Heerlens Heitje is an initiative of the municipality of Heerlen in collaboration with Heerlen Mijn Stad, CoTown, Brightlands Smart Services Campus, neighborhood organization GMS, CBS and the VNG. It is financially supported by the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) fund of the European Union. You can find more information on: www.heerlen.nl/heitje.

AMS Startup Booster alumni: CoTown | © Gemeente Heerlen by Sirella Dieteren // La Sirel

Technology to better the local economy and urban environment while rewarding citizen engagement

AMS Startup Booster alumni: CoTown | © Gemeente Heerlen by Sirella Dieteren // La Sirel

Technology to better the local economy and urban environment while rewarding citizen engagement

AMS Startup Booster alumni: CoTown | © Gemeente Heerlen by Sirella Dieteren // La Sirel

Technology to better the local economy and urban environment while rewarding citizen engagement

“For our next steps we have signed a new pilot project in Amsterdam Zuidoost. Also, we are improving Heerlen’s Heitje platform with additional features and still looking for new usage and applications to CoTown’s platform to improve civic engagement and local economy.”

Grégoire Piette | Founder & CEO | CoTown

How CoTown got ‘boosted’

Before taking part in the AMS Startup Booster, CoTowns' business idea was being validated with the proof of concept centered on one specific type of usage. Namely, engaging citizens in the upkeep of their living environment. Also, prior to their booster experiences, the startups' business model was based on the sales of white-label platforms.

Joining the incubation program, CoTown wanted to validate new ideas and business model for the platform. What challenges did the team experience during the program? And what were their highlights?

The team indicates that the biggest challenge during the program was to clearly define our personas because CoTown addresses many different types of stakeholders with the platform. On the flip side of challenges are great wins. And, the final pitch and demo day for a jury of industry experts was certainly a win for CoTown: as they were the lucky ones to receive AMS Startup Booster's feasibility experiment prize.

“Signing up for the AMS Startup Booster, we expected to learn new methods and processes to validate our assumptions and take our company to the next level. This is exactly what happened! Thanks to the booster program we could validate that cities are looking are many other areas in which they want to engage citizens.”

Grégoire Piette | Founder & CEO | CoTown

Boosting your business idea to the next level in only 4 months

For a period of 4 months, the AMS Startup Booster offered CoTown access to the testing area of Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab, a Makerspace at AMS Institute, workshops and training, and connections with a large ecosystem of academics, city officials, private and public organizations.

With the help of the experts involved in the program, the entrepreneurs formulated a stronger value proposition and learned the importance of conducting small experiments and setting targets to reach overall company goals.

Now open: AMS Startup Booster edition #4 call for applications from August 1st till September 30th. Ready to turn your idea into a business? Apply here to join the next run of the program.

“The AMS Startup Booster program emphasized the importance of putting yourself in the shoes of your final customers/users before making decisions. It really helped us in getting more confidence in our project and validating some assumptions.”

Grégoire Piette | Founder & CEO | CoTown

A potential market of 25.000.000.000 in Europe

Currently, the entrepreneurs worked towards a more scalable platform and clearer product and market fit. CoTown is excited about the future and the team looks forward to launching new projects and features to bringing civic engagement and the local economy even further.

The dream of this entrepreneurial team is to successfully scale up their solution and move to new markets like Belgium, Germany or France. To give you an impression, CoTowns 'gov tech' market represents a potential of 25 billion euros in Europe with Netherlands, Germany and Belgium as the startup's focus.

Currently, CoTown looks for other pilot opportunities and contact within municipalities. Are you excited about this innovation and want to make future cities more sustainable? Get in touch >>

“The biggest lesson we learned is that it is not the destination which counts but it is the journey. Entrepreneurship is like a long trip, everyday.”

Grégoire Piette | Founder & CEO | CoTown

CoTown

CoTown: Meet the team

Sign up for the AMS Startup Booster program 2022

Got inspired by CoTown to boost your idea for a sustainable or tech business that impacts city life and solves urban challenges? We're looking for ambitious entrepreneurs to join our 2022 edition of the program!

With the AMS Startup Booster program, we help you to turn your innovative ideas into reality and bring your startup to the next level. During a period of 4 months, you receive guidance from a diverse group of experts, we help you eliminate uncertainties, do a thorough customer discovery, and form a strong team. Ultimately, our aim is for you to venture out with a solid pitch and minimal viable product.

Apply before September 30th to join the 2022 run of the 4-month program.

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