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Soofa

E-paper signs for community interaction

 Cambridge, MA, USA

BINDEX

A

What's this?

B Basics

BASICS 

01Soofa creates solar electronic paper displays to improve community interaction with hyperlocal content and ads anyone can use

HQ 

02HQ in Cambridge, MA, United States

Runway

2014

Founding year

People 

Sandra Richter
Co-Founder & CEO

People 

Jutta Friedrichs
Co-Founder and VP of Operations

Employees 

+20

People

K Keys

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.

Hyperlocal 

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

Users can access the Soofa Talk open platform to post or schedule content in their local signs

P Products

Product 

Soofa Sign

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

Product 

Soofa Bench

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

Product 

Soofa Talk

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

Background 

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

News 

How One Startup Is Getting COVID-19 Information to Boston’s Pedestrians

March 16, 2020

Read the bizjournals article

Funding 

3.2 M

US DOLLARS

Investors 

Status: Seed

Accomplice
E14 Fund
Pillar VC
ACG Management
Underscore VC
Knight Enterprise Fund
Momenta Ventures
Where Angels Fund

C Customers

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.

Case Studies

Boston, MA

See case

Cambridge, MA

See case

New York City, NY

See case

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.

Players 

Smart Assets

In Croatia, Include is manufacturing Steora, a solar powered bench that provides wifi and act as a charging station. In the Boston area, CIVIQ Smartscapes creates smart signs and totems with sensors.

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

51% Women

GENDER EQUALITY

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.

Founder

Jutta Friedrichs

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.