URBAN-X Launches New Startup Cohort

URBAN-X has announced the fourth cohort of early-stage companies. Backed by MINI in partnership with urbantech venture fund Urban Us Capital, URBAN-X chose seven startups from 400 applications to participate in Cohort 04 of the accelerator program. Cities, their inhabitants and infrastructure worldwide face mounting risks, and Cohort 04 companies are building hardware and platforms to address these challenges — from next-generation bike helmets and smart wall power outlets, to machine learning systems that automate toll-road pricing and monitor construction site progress.

Over the next five months, the URBAN-X Cohort 04 startups will undergo a rigorous program to help develop their business and bring their solutions to market. The founders will work with a dedicated team of experts from several disciplines, from world-class engineers, designers and software developers, to top investors and marketing and urban policy experts. Thanks to MINI and Urban Us’s wide-reaching global resources, the accelerator curriculum involves working trips to Munich, San Francisco and other major cities, and connects startup founders to an unparalleled network of over 2,000 partners who have volunteered to support the startups through the program. The program culminates in a Demo Day at A/D/O, where URBAN-X is based, during which founders present their market-ready prototypes and business concepts to an audience of funders, thought leaders and media.

Cohort 04 includes the following startups:

  • Rentlogic — Rentlogic is a data-driven, letter-grade rating system for apartment buildings that aims to bring transparency and standardization to the residential real estate market.
  • Avvir — Avvir automates quality assurance for the construction industry, providing real-time insights into the progress and potential defects on a project.
  • Campsyte — Campsyte enables citydwellers to easily find and book private outdoor event space.
  • ClearRoad — ClearRoad helps government agencies automate toll road pricing for any section of road without the need for traditional proprietary hardware infrastructure.
  • Open Data Nation — Open Data Nation analyzes billions of public data records for cities and insurance carriers to predict and proactively mitigate problems, such as car crashes as part of the Vision Zero Initiative, and prepare for the safe deployment of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles.
  • Park & Diamond — Park & Diamond makes biking better by reinventing the bike helmet, using next-generation materials to build a safer, more portable helmet that can roll up into the shape of a water bottle for easier carrying, while looking like a regular hat, cap or beanie
  • Sapient Industries — Sapient Industries has developed a smart outlet that senses and learns human behavior patterns in order to automate a building’s energy management.

MINI launched URBAN-X in 2016 to support startups working to improve city life.

“Across the country, around dinner tables and water coolers, people are talking about the state of American infrastructure — about the risks posed by our infrastructure, and the need for investment,” said Head of MINI Brand Strategy and Business Innovation Esther Bahne. “Cohort 04 startups are taking a hard look at the risks posed by our current and future infrastructure, and developing innovative solutions. Through our investment in URBAN-X, MINI is working to develop the technology, services and city infrastructure that will build the cities of the future and undergird the future of humanity.”

“Cities are changing faster than ever before, but have only just begun to explore the ways that emerging technologies can help tackle our biggest challenges,” said URBAN-X Managing Director, Micah Kotch. “The startups in URBAN-X’s Cohort 04 are proposing innovative responses to some of the most pressing urban problems, and we are excited to help them bring their solutions to market.”

In 2017, Urban Us Capital partnered with URBAN-X to help fund and mentor the accelerator’s next generation of human-focused city innovation.

“Combining the resourcing of the leading early stage VC fund focused on cities and the deep experience, expertise and commitment of MINI lets us do things for startups we’ve only be able to dream about,” said Mark Paris, co-founder of Urban Us. “As a result, only 90 days after demo and investors days, we expect 6 of the 7 Cohort 3 teams to announce their funding rounds. We are excited to help the Cohort 04 startup founders achieve the same results."

The announcement was made at URBAN-X’s Brooklyn headquarters during a kickoff event for Smart Cities New York (SCNY) 2018, North America’s leading global conference for public- and private-sector leaders to discuss the future of cities.

“The boundless appeal of our cities keeps them successful epicenters of innovation, hives for big ideas from across the globe,” said Jay Walder, president and CEO of Motivate, the bike-sharing company that operates New York’s Citi Bike and other bike-share systems worldwide, in his keynote address at the event. “But alongside urban growth come major challenges, like how to incorporate new mobility solutions into our streetscapes or how to use technology to improve affordability. We need to think about our cities in whole new ways, and URBAN-X is playing a critical role in developing the urban landscape of the future.”

"We are thrilled to launch this year’s New York conference with Citi in Brooklyn alongside URBAN-X and their fourth cohort,” said SCNY Co-Founder Simon Sylvester-Chaudhuri from the event held at A/D/O, MINI’s 23,000 square-foot warehouse work space, design studio and restaurant that is home to URBAN-X. “As world leaders in the urban innovation space, these organizations are prime examples of the mission and values of the global Smart Cities movement. URBAN-X has a proven track record of accelerating urban innovations and entrepreneurship, while Citi has long been a pioneer in sponsoring urban and community programs like Citibike, which is celebrating its 5th anniversary."