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Soofa Signs help people get around by telling them what's available in the moment, outside

Soofa makes solar powered digital bulletin boards that use eInk technology to display real-time public and alternative transit options

Photo of Edward Krafcik
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The Soofa Sign helps people get around - both by displaying public transit arrival information in real-time and by informing people what's happening nearby when they get to their destination. The Soofa Sign functions as mix between a digital bulletin board for the outdoors and the Facebook wall for the real world. In cities like Boston, Atlanta, and Las Vegas, it is installed in some of the most diverse, active, and unique neighborhoods, and it helps people get around and become more connected with each other and their communities. The Soofa Sign lets people take control of their billboards, letting them post what they want, when they want. Learn more:

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Our solution is for everyone. It is installed in the public right of way and displays information for all to see. It is accessible and has successfully been installed in a number of different types of locations - from busy transit hubs and bus stops to neighborhood parks and plazas. The sign is useful for people on their commute, interested in finding better and faster ways to get around (like showing where the nearest bike share is or how far away a TNC ride is, in addition to public transit options), and is also great for people who are visiting or living in a neighborhood to know what's going on near them in the moment or in the coming days and weeks.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

We are a female founded start up founded in 2014 out of MIT. We believe that the smart city is a social city and we design, build, and deploy human-centered infrastructure that makes living in a city an even better experience.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Our signs can be supported by local advertising. We typically co invest with a city to help bring the signs in the first place. Then, through our hyper local advertising strategy, we work with local businesses to build an advertising revenue stream that covers the operating costs of the signs and, depending on the goals of the city in terms of percent of airtime used for advertising and total revenue generated, we enter into a revenue share with the city.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We our always focused on measuring user engagement, meaning how many people are using the signs. The signs are like nothing else available in that they are open for the public to use. In our existing cities, for example, we see on average about 100 unique posts generated by the community per week - these include things like advertisements for upcoming events and neighborhood meetings, festivals, bands, local artists showcasing their work, and much more. Here's a case study showing how we look at success in a city like Atlanta:


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Photo of Nahom Beyene

is there a plan or user experience workflow that allows the screen to filter or expand to the scope of transportation modes that any individual user is equipped/eligible to use at a moment's notice? I have a concept for pushing status updates on bus occupancy levels, which may be a nice trigger to have people check their nearby soofa sign.

Photo of Edward Krafcik

Hi Nahom, to a certain extent, yes we are working on things like this. The triggers we are looking at are more around the wait time for a bus and if it is over a certain amount of time the sign can offer alternative ways to get around, which could include something as simple as walking one more stop, using a bike share, a scooter, etc. This ability for the sign content to be activated by a certain trigger is very important for us. Thanks for your suggestion!

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