Working to apply human intelligence at scale to help stop COVID-19 and safely restore the economy.


Steve Waters is a social entrepreneur, open-source intelligence expert and advocate for aggressive, privacy-centric contact tracing in the war against COVID-19.
He is the Founder & CEO of CONTRACE, a social enterprise working to help fight COVID-19, safely reopen the economy, and connect Americans with jobs that are both desperately needed and critical to public health.
CONTRACE helps local & state agencies efficiently launch, expand and operate COVID-19 contact tracing teams, by providing urgent contact tracing workforce recruitment, and 24/7 online investigation teams to ensure tracers have the information they need.

Prior to CONTRACE Waters was the founder of SMB Intelligence, a NYC-based market intelligence firm that helped government, nonprofit and corporate clients more effectively deliver growth solutions to small businesses, particularly those in distressed communities.
Waters is a member of the national Opportunity Zones Coalition as a small business advocate, and has been featured in Bloomberg, Harvard’s Data-Smart City Solutions, Governing, Route Fifty and others.
After a decade in NYC he recently relocated to Washington, DC.



“Prime Growth is a growth-based classification standard created (by SMB Intelligence) to identify the small businesses currently most likely to experience substantial growth and create new jobs.”
– Harvard’s Data-Smart City Solutions




Jan. 12, 2019

Waters Joins the Advisory Council of Impacct Brooklyn

Founded in 1964, IMPACCT Brooklyn is a community development organization committed to helping residents build and sustain flourishing communities.

Dec. 27, 2018

Opportunity Zones Coalition Letter Submitted to US Treasury

SMB Intelligence was a signatory on the Opportunity Zones Coalition’s comment letter on the proposed regulations, submitted to the Treasury.

Nov. 5, 2018

Waters Featured in Harvard’s Data-Smart City Solutions

Waters and Prime Growth Classification are featured in an excellent article on geospatial data from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Sept. 20, 2018

Federal Reserve Requests Access to the Prime Growth Briefing

SMB Intelligence agrees to provide access to the Prime Growth Briefing to economists at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to support research into firm creation and Opportunity Zones.

Sept. 10, 2018

SMB Intelligence Admitted to the National Opportunity Zones Coalition

The Opportunity Zones Coalition is a group of organizations, led by Economic Innovation Group, working together with a broad array of public and private stakeholders to ensure the timely and effective implementation of the new Opportunity Zones policy.

Aug. 12, 2018

Waters Endorses the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights

Waters endorses the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights, an initiative of FIELD at the Aspen Institute to promote transparent and ethical lending practices.