Silicon Valley expertise accelerates Erie Innovation District plans

ERIE, PA., March 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Erie Innovation District LLC (Erie ID) and Singularity University have joined forces to run a 10-week accelerator program designed to help entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into successful startup businesses.

“We’re excited about the outcomes of this relationship as we seek to create breakthrough solutions and generate the next generation of jobs in the Erie community,” said ErieID President and CEO Karl Sanchack. “We look forward to elevating Erie into a cyber and data services hub.”

Singularity University, a global technology thought leader based in Silicon Valley, California, will be engaged through all the steps of recruiting, launching, teaching and enhancing the startups involved in this new program. Mentoring services will draw upon local talent from organizations like Ben Franklin Technology Partners, but will also include weekly engagement by seasoned Singularity leaders from nearby Columbus, Ohio.

Since Sanchack was named CEO by the ErieID board of founding partners (Mercyhurst University, Erie Insurance, McManis and Monsalve Associates and Velocity Network Inc.), the partnerships have grown to include UPMC, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Dell EMC, and MCPc. The addition of Singularity University adds a critical building block to the growing infrastructure designed to reinvent the Erie economy and create high-demand jobs with family-sustaining wages.

Startups invited to participate in the accelerator will be housed at the Erie Innovation District headquarters at 717 State Street during the program, which is expected to run from June through August. The cohort of startups will benefit from colocation there with leaders and innovators employed by Erie Insurance. They will also receive a full suite of local software, development and cloud publishing capabilities designed as part of the Innovation District’s collaboration with Dell EMC, which began in October 2017.

The agreement between Mercyhurst and Singularity was signed the second week in March, and design and marketing for the accelerator are now underway. A call for applicants will be issued within a few weeks. Additional information and application instructions will be available soon at

"Singularity University is excited to be working with the Erie Innovation District to drive a new accelerator in such important areas as data and security. Exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence along with the proliferation of connected sensors and feedback devices rapidly accelerate the advancements we can achieve in these areas and have a profound positive impact on our lives and prosperity," said Benjamin King, Sr. Director, Corporate Innovation.

“Given the reputation and incubation capability of Singularity University, we place ourselves in the enviable position of creating an entirely new level of innovation and entrepreneurship in the City of Erie,” said Sanchack. “This is a critical step in building recognition on a national and international stage as the destination city of choice for data science, safety and (cyber) security.”


In September 2016, Mercyhurst University, in collaboration with corporate partners Erie Insurance, McManis & Monsalve Associates, and Velocity Network, Inc., began development of the Erie Innovation District in an effort to revitalize the region’s economy. The partners execute joint projects related to the high-demand fields of safety and security, focused particularly on cyber security, data science and intelligence analysis, where their combined skills, augmented by those of additional corporate and university partners, will create a powerful business alliance and serve as a catalyst for economic growth.

Singularity University (SU) is a California Benefit Corporation that educates individuals and organizations of all sizes on navigating accelerating technological change via global learning and innovation programs. SU's collaborative approach to innovation empowers communities across the globe to learn, connect, and create breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies (like artificial intelligence, robotics, digital biology, and more) to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Founded as a nonprofit in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis, SU converted to a certified B (benefit) Corporation in 2012 and has had significant support and engagement from organizations like Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF. SU is headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. To learn more, visit, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @SingularityU, and download the SingularityU Hub mobile app.



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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