Seven early-stage urbantech companies join MINI-backed accelerator to develop solutions that reimagine city life -- from electric-vehicle chargers, emergency healthcare drones, clean energy financing, and more
BROOKLYN, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--URBAN-X, a leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life, today announced its seventh cohort of companies. URBAN-X is part of the Innovation and Brand Strategy practice at MINI and partners with venture firm, Urban.Us. Seven startups were selected from a prestigious group of hundreds of applicants from across the globe and are building solutions to some of our cities’ most pressing issues.
The companies selected will be immersed in a 20-week intensive accelerator program, during which they receive guidance on customer development, product development, network-building and successful go-to-market strategies -- all in preparation for fundraising. Throughout the duration of the program, companies have access to hands-on assistance from URBAN-X’s expansive network of global experts - including world-class engineers and designers from BMW, software developers, policy experts, marketing and sales leaders, UX/UI designers and communications experts. URBAN-X invests up to $150,000 in each company.
The program will culminate in a Demo Day in April 2020, where teams will present their solutions to an audience of investors, policymakers, customers and more. Following Demo Day, the companies are introduced to investors across the country, beginning with investor days in New York and the Bay Area.
Cohort 07 includes the following startups:
● ChargeLab: Offers electric vehicle charging solutions for businesses, utilities, individuals, and governments through an open EV charging management platform.
● CoInspect: Building technology to ensure food safety and sustainability from farm to fork.
● Eva: Provides drone vertical take off and landing, charging stations for healthcare, emergency response and overall airborne logistics.
● Firmus: Leverages AI and historical data to help construction companies learn from previous mistakes and automatically detect errors from the early stages of design.
● Hades: Provides automated assessment of sewer infrastructure, improving public health and environmental protection.
● Metalmark: Develops novel materials for highly efficient catalytic decomposition of air pollutants, making clean air globally accessible and affordable.
● UsurpPower: Automating retrofit finance for small commercial buildings.
MINI launched URBAN-X in 2016 as part of their Innovation and Brand Strategy practice focused on improving city life. URBAN-X engages with the brightest minds solving some of the most complex issues people living in cities face today, like mobility, energy consumption, infrastructure, housing, food waste, water and more. The accelerator now has 51 companies in the portfolio, with 85% of companies having gone on to raise their next round of capital.
“MINI aims to inspire entrepreneurship, design and collaboration with innovative minds, and this ambition comes to life through URBAN-X,” said Esther Bahne, MINI Head of Brand Strategy & Innovation. “Cohort 07 is full of bold thinkers who are working to solve some of the most critical issues impacting cities around the globe. ”
“URBAN-X is shepherding in a new generation of leaders solving for unprecedented urban challenges, while bridging the gap between the public and private sectors,” said URBAN-X Managing Director, Micah Kotch. “We are excited to get to work with Cohort 07 as they develop new solutions to keep our cities resilient in the face of uncertainty.”
In 2017, Urban Us partnered with URBAN-X to help fund and develop the accelerator’s next generation of human-focused city innovation.
“URBAN-X, Urban Us and MINI are deeply committed to advancing the low carbon, resilient, high density future of our cities through technology, investment and mentorship,” said Shaun Abrahamson, URBAN-X Investment Committee and Managing Partner at Urban Us. “Startups are critical to playing an outsized role in reimagining the core sectors of our cities -- like transportation, real estate and energy -- and we’re thrilled to invest in this new class of creative and entrepreneurial minds.”
URBAN-X is a leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life. Founded by MINI and run in partnership with Urban.Us, URBAN-X helps early-stage companies work with and in cities. URBAN-X has a global reach unparalleled by any other urbantech accelerator. Startups have access to a network of over 2,000 partners around the world, including entrepreneurs, investors, and public-sector leaders, who support founders through the URBAN-X program. During the year, URBAN-X leadership visits cities worldwide—in the US, Europe, Asia and beyond—to meet entrepreneurs and individuals shaping the future of urban life. URBAN-X is based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at A/D/O, a creative space founded by MINI and dedicated to exploring the boundaries of design. Applications for Cohort 08 are currently open at www.URBAN-X.com. Find URBAN-X on Twitter & Instagram at @urbanxaccel and on Facebook at facebook.com/urbanxaccel.
About MINI Innovation
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. As an iconic and emotional urban brand, MINI has taken a unique approach to innovation, carrying forward its roots as an innovator of efficient urban mobility while maximizing creative use of space. Although MINI benefits from BMW Group technological advancements, including those in autonomous, connected, electrified and shared segments, MINI has evolved its thinking and product development across a unique range of areas that interest with mobility and extend beyond the car. MINI Innovation is focused on the future of electrified mobility, impactful design, urban living and the important interplay between these areas. The practice includes: A/D/O, URBAN-X, MINI Living and MINI Fashion.
Urban Us is the leading early stage investor for startups re-imagining cities. Cities will soon be home to 70% of the global population, who now face unprecedented risk from climate change. Our 2014 and 2016 funds achieve top quartile performance for investors while also generating substantial public benefits. In 2019 Urban Us launched their third fund.
The Urban Us platform includes the Urban Us network, a resource for urbantech focused founders, investors, partners and customers. URBAN-X, in partnership with MINI, supports early stage teams with company building and fundraising. Perl Street serves teams needing access to all forms of capital by modeling and providing access to non-equity capital for project finance, asset finance and inventory finance. Urban Gateway supports startups business development in Asia.
Before Urban Us, the Urban Us team had three exits and ran a VC fund and municipal finance for Citi. Notable investments before Urban Us include Trialpay (Visa), Blue Bottle Coffee (Nestle), Refinery29(Vice), Crowdtwist (Oracle) and ZocDoc. The Urban Us portfolio includes 70 investments across real estate, infrastructure, energy, water, waste, food, transportation and public administration including health and security. Notable investments include, Bowery Farming, Starcity, Mark43, One Concern, Future Motion, Skycatch, Seamlessdocs, Revivn, BRCK and Rachio.