National Competition Showcases Cutting-Edge Technology Addressing Some of the Greatest Challenges Facing Cities Today

Austin, TX – Today, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced Biobot Analytics as the winner of the Mayor’s Matchup: Tech Innovation Pitch Competition where emerging companies pitched their ideas to address challenges facing cities in a “Shark Tank”-style forum during South by Southwest (SXSW). The competition was the culminating event of Civic I/O, an event that was created in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors, South by Southwest and the Office of Austin Mayor Steve Adler immersing forward-thinking mayors with some of the most innovative technologists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and creatives.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (West Sacramento, Calif.) hosted the afternoon, and Mayors Betsy Price (Fort Worth, Texas), Michael Tubbs (Stockton, Calif.) and Javier Gonzalez (Santa Fe, NM) joined Sara T. Brand, founding general partner of True Wealth Ventures, and Chris Doten, chief innovation officer at the NDI as judges.  Biobot Analytics was one of six companies competing for prize money totaling $25,000. Companies Citymart and Elucd came in second and third places, respectively.

Founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Biobot Analytics develops cutting-edge technology to transform sewers into public health observatories.  Their first product, the Opioid Consumption Monitoring (OCM) Program is helping address the nation’s opioid drug crisis by gathering data before opioid use results in arrests and deaths by overdose. The OCM Program measures drug metabolites in wastewater to estimate consumption in cities. This data will allow governments to assess the scope of opioid use, decide how to allocate funding and resources, and gauge the effectiveness of interventions over time. The Program generates drug consumption estimates that are naturally aggregated, anonymized, and unbiased, yielding unprecedented insight into the health of communities.

“I found it incredibly inspiring to see all of the participants leverage the depth of their education and available technology to deliver practical solutions to the very real problems that cities face every day,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

“More than winning the prize money, we are most excited about the opportunity to come to Civic I/O to engage with mayors.  We are looking forward to going to Boston this June to present our technology to a larger group of mayors during the Conference’s Annual Meeting.  We believe so much in the future of wastewater epidemiology and are eager to connect with pioneering mayors from across the country to embark on this transformative journey with us,” said Newsha Ghaeli, co-founder of Biobot Analytics.

More than 20 mayors from across the country convened in Austin for SXSW and participated in a series of interactive discussions with leaders focused on how cities can leverage emerging technologies to tackle some of the biggest civic and municipal challenges and deliver better services. Mayors also took part in a variety of SXSW Interactive panels highlighting how cities are leading the way in finding solutions to the nation’s greatest problems—from public safety and racial equality to disaster response and climate change.