URBAN-X, the leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life backed by MINI and Urban Us, today graduates its eighth cohort of companies during a virtual Demo Day that closes out the 20-week, intensive program. From cities across the globe, six founders present their solutions online to an audience of investors, customers and public-sector leaders, showcasing hardware and software solutions across climate change, mobility and logistics, energy and water.
Demo Day 08 comes as the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented environmental events, such as a record-breaking wildfire season and intensifying hurricanes — paired with a pandemic that has further underscored the economic and social inequalities due to centuries of environmental injustice. With cities looking for new solutions to a growing list of complex issues, the founders in Cohort 08 are showcasing innovations to both combat climate change and to build more equitable and sustainable cities. Cohort 08 solutions include robots that roam the land to sequester carbon; 10x cheaper EV charging without wires; smart intersections that cut congestion by 50%; algorithms for EV purchase intent and optimized charging infrastructure; an API to instantly optimize logistics; and the world’s largest database of hyperlocal water quality data.
“We are in the midst of regulatory and technological breakthroughs that are enabling a new generation of leaders to build our cities for the better,” said URBAN-X Managing Director, Micah Kotch. “The founders in Cohort 08 are rethinking outdated systems, renewing inefficient infrastructure and creating the foundation for more equitable urban systems, all during one of the most challenging times we’ve seen in decades. We couldn’t be more proud of this group of entrepreneurs.”
URBAN-X, launched by MINI in 2016 as part of the brand’s innovation practice and in partnership with venture firm Urban Us, twice a year invests up to $150,000 in up to 10 companies building solutions to address climate change and other challenges facing cities today. Today’s event marks the start of teams seeking additional investment to grow their companies, and serves as a demonstration of the product and business development milestones hit during URBAN-X’s accelerator program. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET.
The full list of Cohort 08 companies include:
- Adiona: Optimizes the efficiency of logistics, supply chain and mobile workforce organizations through AI.
- Aquagenuity: The “Google Search” for water quality, helping you check your water as easily as you check the weather.
- Climate Robotics: Builds robots to efficiently generate biochar to sequester carbon and improve soils, starting with urban land.
- Mobilyze: Data-analytics platform that optimizes the location of electric charging stations.
- Resonant Link: Breakthrough wireless charging technology for fast, zero-maintenance, and low-cost power to robots and EVs.
- Xtelligent: Next generation traffic signal network enabling the connected, automated, and multi-modal transportation future.
“MINI was built on a foundation of qualities as a sustainable solution to the mobility challenges of its time” said Bernd Koerber, Senior Vice President MINI. “These qualities, to which we remained true to since 1959, are particularly important today and are evident in the founders of Cohort 08. We look forward to their future successes in bringing positive impact on urban innovation.”
URBAN-X has a proven track record in helping early-stage companies secure funding from leading investors. In fact, 80% of URBAN-X companies have gone on to raise their next round of capital. This month, Cohort 06 alum, cove.tool, a building design platform for automated performance and cost, announced $5.7 million in Series A funding. In addition, Evolve Energy, a wholesale energy company and another Cohort 06 company, was recently acquired by Octopus Energy, a UK-based energy retailer valued at over $1 billion, to accelerate the green energy future in the U.S.
“We depend on founders to work at the edge of science fiction and reality to explore new approaches to upgrade cities for climate. When they succeed they will do much more than generate investor returns – they will inform city and climate policy and generate public benefits from GHG reductions to clean drinking water.” said Shaun Abrahamson, URBAN-X Investment Committee and Managing Partner at Urban Us. “Founders have had to quickly adjust to a post Covid world that has changed how they build, sell and raise funds. In spite of these changes, this cohort is thriving and we’re excited for more people to learn about what they’re building.”
In addition to investments that URBAN-X and Urban Us made as part of the accelerator program, fundsURBAN-X co-investors include 360 Capital, Baidu Ventures, Brad Burnham, BMW i Ventures, Close Loop Partners, Congruent Ventures, Draper Associates, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Fontinalis Partners, Fred Wilson, Google, Khosla Ventures, Mark Cuban, Mucker Capital, Notation Capital, Point72 Ventures, Robert Bosch VC, Root, Samsung NEXT, Softbank, Story Ventures, Wireframe Ventures, and UL Ventures.
Applications for URBAN-X Cohort 09 are open until October 22nd. The program will run from December 2020 to April 2021. URBAN-X looks for the brightest startups creating disruptive and scalable solutions across sectors such as mobility and transportation, real estate, infrastructure, safety, food and water, energy, public health and more. Interested founders should apply here.
URBAN-X is the leading accelerator for technology and design startups reimagining city life. Founded by MINI, URBAN-X helps early-stage companies from all over the world address modern urban challenges across sectors like transport, real estate, local government, food, water, waste and utilities.
Twice a year, URBAN-X selects up to 10 startups for its competitive, five-month program of product and business development. The accelerator invests $150,000 in each startup and puts them to work with a dedicated, in-house team of engineering, design and business experts; and culminates in founders presenting to an audience of investors, thought leaders and media.
URBAN-X has a global reach unparalleled by any other urbantech accelerator and the startups have access to a network of over 2,000 partners around the world, including entrepreneurs, investors and public-sector leaders, who have volunteered to support the founders through the URBAN-X program. Find URBAN-X on Twitter & Instagram at @urbanxaccel and on Facebook at facebook.com/urbanxaccel.
About MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented by a network of 120 MINI passenger car dealers located throughout the US. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of five unique vehicles.
Journalist note: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at www.miniusanews.com.
About Urban Us
Urban Us is the leading early stage investor for startups upgrading cities for climate change. Urban Us was founded in 2013 because we concluded that startups would play an outsized role in re-imagining the core sectors used to design, build, and operate cities. Investments like Onewheel, Rachio, Bowery Farming, One Concern, Thrilling, Cove Tool and Starcity are leading the way in areas like electrification of mobility, high performance building design, resilient food supplies and natural hazard risk management.
The Urban Us platform includes the Urban Us network, a resource for founders, investors, partners and customers. URBAN-X, in partnership with MINI, supports early stage teams with company building and fundraising. Urban Us VC makes pre-seed and seed venture investments. Urban Us Credit serves teams needing access to all forms of non-equity capital for project finance, asset finance and inventory finance. Urban Gateway supports startups business development in Asia.
Urban Us partners were ranked in the top 11 of nearly 400 investors in The VCs who founders love the most by TechCrunch. Previously the team worked for Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, First Round Capital and Roosevelt Institute and graduated from Harvard, MIT, Georgia Tech, NYU and UPenn.