Representatives from an undisclosed company sat in Alex Fischer’s office one recent morning with a savory pitch: They would bring $5 million to the table if their business could get in on Columbus’ nascent Smart City program. The episode, relayed at a Columbus Business First-sponsored forum on Smart City this week, was indicative of what may happen more often in the wake of the city’s June victory in securing $50 million from a federal competition to test new transportation and mobility technology. Columbus defeated 77 communities and six finalist cities – including tech havens San Francisco and Austin, Texas – in the Smart City Challenge that includes $10 million from Vulcan Inc., a Seattle business and philanthropic enterprise founded by Microsoft Inc. co-founder Paul Allen.
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