The term “Sente” comes from the Chinese game GO, the Asian game of strategy and tactics. “Sente” means taking upon a competitive initiative to control the game.
Sente manages an international technology startup program that brings corporations, public institutions, investors, and startups together to scale innovative ideas from around the globe in one of the largest and most diverse B2B ecosystems in the world: Chicago. Our robust methodology and expertise in technology development and innovation management have assisted dozens of startups from more than 15 countries that have grown out of idea stage into growth stage. Our extensive network of corporations, technology industry executives and domain experts in the US help these startups enter into US markets based on a well-thought and tested commercial development plan.
In the history of humanity, cities have been economic engines for their region. In the earlier days of human history, cities were generally home to a ruling family, and the cities' marketplaces attracted traders and farmers. Fast forward to the 20th century; economic power shifted to companies and the cities that they have chosen as their home. As an extension of the economic growth in these cities, countries and the economic blocs that started to form after World War I, became centers of economic power. Today, however, with the rapid digitalization of the economy, new business models like sharing and gig economy, economic power is shifting back to individuals. Therefore, where they choose to live will drive the long-term fortunes of the cities.
Urbanization is an undeniable trend. As the researchers have recently provided data in several publications, more than half of the world’s population will live in cities by 2040-2050 timeframe. In other words, the population of the cities will increase from 3.8 billion of today’s population to 7 billion by then, almost doubling today’s population in the cities.
Such a pace of urbanization and the mobility of consumers create a challenge for today’s cities. On the one hand, cities must meet the challenges presented by urbanization concerning housing, food chain, education, healthcare, transportation, and jobs. On the other hand, they need to enhance the living experiences of its citizens economically and equitably so that they choose to stay. These challenges are complex and pivotal for the survival and sustainability of the communities around the world. These challenges require innovation and collaboration at the global scale. Cities that can properly manage these two challenges will increase their global economic competitiveness and sustainability.
Through our work around the globe, we have seen every day how global cities are struggling to deal with these challenges in order to meet the expectations of their residents. Cities need to attract a younger generation, primarily the digital-focused workforce of our future or face the consequences of this urbanization trend in many ways. For example, rising rents creates a challenge for finding affordable housing for everyone. Another example is that such economic growth creates significantly higher in-city logistics activity. This last-mile-delivery driven congestion is causing a major problem for cities like London, Paris, and Istanbul. We continuously lose available land for farming and a source of drinkable water for various reasons, including inconsistent and inefficient land use and climate change. As the global population grows and becomes more urban, rising costs will make it difficult to access affordable, healthy and nutritional food. This affects our overall health and drives social stress. These are complex challenges for world leaders, regional leaders, and our communities.
At Sente, we believe that these challenges are and should be at the center of our work. Our purpose is to seek innovators around the world that are working on these problems, utilizing emerging and rapidly developing technologies like sensors, new materials, communication technologies, machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, to name a few. If we can help them scale their solutions successfully, they can solve these problems or contribute to the solutions for them.
There is no other Earth that we know of, yet. Therefore, we are together facing challenges that are materially important to all of us. This is why we need to think about how we can enable collaboration among public stakeholders like municipalities, entrepreneurs, corporations, and investors like family offices and venture funds. This view has shaped our operating model and the way we provide our services. We bring these stakeholders to the same table and facilitate a focused pursuit of solutions for such problems.
We organize our work around three themes: mobility/logistics, human essentials (food-tech, ag-tech, and water-tech), and industrial solutions (manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure technologies). Since 2012, we worked with more than 400 startups from around the world through eleven programs. We are looking forward to working with even more entrepreneurs as it is very exciting to see how they all work to make the world a better place, one idea at a time.
Our approach is to help the entrepreneurs better understand how to scale their idea to be truly impactful. At the same time, we help corporations and municipalities work with startups to help startups scale faster to impact our communities. And, our home base Chicago has that spirit and credibility as an ecosystem tackling such issues.
It is an exciting time to do what we do. It is an immense level of trust that our entrepreneurs and investors put on us. This is why we feel tremendous pride when we hear that we were helpful. This is why we look forward to working with you.
Our operating model
Founder & CEO