In 2016, the City of Sacramento committed up to $1 million in grants for groups that drive acceleration, innovation & leadership for startups. After receiving over 100 applications, and going through an extensive review process with internal and external leaders, the following 15 organizatons were unanimously approved by the City Council for funding.

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The Funnel Strategy


The City received 100+ completed applications totaling nearly $18 million in funding requests -- in just 4 weeks of open applications.

Leadership Innovation Acceleration
Applications 30 48 28
Total Requested $4M $2M $1M
Average $168K $76K $40K

(Swipe down for more... Or left to see the nominations)

Review Process

The Economic Development Department (EDD), Information Technology Department (IT), and the Mayor's Office for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MOFIE) reviewed and scored applications, with the Mayor’s Tech Council serving in an advisory capacity as industry experts. Top-ranking applicants were interviewed. Funding recommendations were developed using a competitive selection process based upon the following criteria:

  • Proven track record
  • Clear, actionable plans that achieve RAILS objectives
  • Fills an industry gap or local market need
  • City funds would be "catalytic" to completing the project
  • Value to the Sacramento innovation ecosystem
  • Program deliverables and metrics

How It Worked

  1. Council approved Innovation and Growth Fund strategy, including RAILS grant program & criteria
  2. City opens online application for participants
  3. Internal group (city staff) completes technical screening (e.g.g completeness, eligibility)
  4. Tech Council reviews all eligible applications and and recommend semi-finalists
  5. City staff interview semi-finalists and score them to determine finalists
  6. City and Tech Council come to alignment from the group of finalists for a list of recommendations for council approval

Selection Committee

Tech Council

Sheri Atwood (SupportPay), Erika Bjork (Sacramento Republic FC), Sonny Mayugba (Waitr), Viabhav Nadgauda (Moneta Ventures), Jay Sales (VSP Global), Tyler Smith (SkySlope)

City Management Leadership

Larry Burkhart, Melissa Anguiano, Veronica Smith (EDD); Maria MacGunigal (IT); Ash Roughani, Abhi Nemani (MOFIE)

The review processes consisted of online voting and scoring, in-person interviews, group discussions - both online and in-person - and every single application was reviewed and discussed by the review team.


  • Diverse, Inclusive, and Creative
  • Broad-based innovation in fabrication, energy & more
  • Civic & Socially Oriented


Elevate Project Yellow Circle Green Tech Square Root Operation Innovate
Hacker Lab Apptology Code4Sac Rocket Dept Dynasty Video
I/O Labs Velocity E49 Corp Founder Academy Square One

Total Recommended: $970K

What's Next

Small Pieces, Loosely Joined

  • Hands-on work with the winning teams to ensure success
  • Networking all 100+ applicants for collaboration
  • Showcase & celebrate the growth and success of Sacramento's growing, diverse economy


Contact Us: [email protected]