This MINI-backed startup accelerator is using tech to combat climate change
As cities around the globe contend with the impacts of climate change, and search for new human-centric solutions in safety, energy, food systems, and social infrastructure a new generation of leadership is answering the call.
That’s one reason why iconic car brand MINI partnered with venture firm Urban Us to build URBAN-X, the accelerator for startups re-imagining city life. The program identifies and invests in the most promising startup founders building solutions to fight the world’s climate emergency and other emerging challenges impacting cities today.
Today, URBAN-X has graduated its sixth cohort of startup companies at an official ClimateWeek NYC event at their Brooklyn, New York headquarters.
Run in coordination with the UN and the City of New York, Climate Week continues to grow as the time and place for the world to showcase amazing climate action and discuss how to do more. URBAN-X, launched by MINI as part of the brand’s innovation practice and venture firm Urban Us, invests $150,000 per company in the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs building solutions to combat the current climate emergency and related challenges impacting cities today.
Public and private sector customers from around the globe are working with URBAN-X Cohort 06 companies to deploy new, human-centric solutions that improve public safety, energy efficiency, water quality, reduction of food waste, and social infrastructure to promote community health and well-being. The seven companies of Cohort 06 showcased their software, hardware and IoT solutions to an audience of potential investors, customers and public-sector leaders.
“In a time of unprecedented global change we put our faith in founders willing to challenge the status quo” said URBAN-X Managing Director, Micah Kotch. “The teams of Cohort 06 have worked tirelessly to prepare for this next chapter, and we look forward to continuing to be there with them every step of the way in their mission to improve city life.”
“MINI has a long history as an innovator at the intersection of efficient urban mobility, urban living and impactful design,” said Esther Bahne, MINI VP of Strategy & Innovation. “For more livable cities, the evolution of mobility is very important, but we need to understand it as intricately linked to all other life lines of the city. Through URBAN-X, MINI is investing in entrepreneurs to solve some of the most complex issues facing cities today.”
The full list of Cohort 06 companies include:
- 3AM Innovation: Situational tracking during emergencies to improve on-scene awareness for first responders
- Cove.Tool: Automated building performance modeling to save time and money for early stage design
- Evolve Energy: Reducing carbon emissions while saving costs via renewable energy, real time pricing and home IOT
- Food For All: Tackling food waste by partnering with popular restaurants and offering quality meals for as little as $4
- Hubbster: Building stronger communities by transforming public spaces into social experiences
- Pi-Lit: Enhancing road safety and traffic guidance via innovative hardware, software and design-focused solutions
- Varuna: A cloud-based platform that provides analytics and insights to improve water quality by optimizing utility operations
Celebrating MINI’s 60-year history as an innovator of efficient urban mobility, the event also showcased three eras of MINI models celebrating the brand’s past, present and future. These included;
- A classic 1965 Mini Cooper S, representing the original Mini that first debuted in 1959; Sir Alec Issigonis faced with a post-war fuel crisis, created the Mini as a solution to provide efficient urban mobility. Not only was the car clever in its design, but it was also accessible, and fun to drive, making it an icon of urban mobility.
- The 2009 MINI E, the brand’s first step in offering electric mobility; The MINI E was introduced as a pilot program that helped inform the development of the BMW Group’s current electrification strategy, including groundwork for MINI’s next EV.
- A preview of the all-new electric 2020 MINI Cooper SE in advance of its planned US show debut in Los Angeles this November; When it comes to market in 2020, this new MINI EV will carry on the mission of the original Mini in offering innovative and efficient urban mobility.
Today’s event was an opportunity to demonstrate product development and business traction made throughout the 20-week URBAN-X program, as well as the official kick-off of the fundraising process for Cohort 06 teams as they seek additional investment to grow their companies.
URBAN-X has a proven track record in helping early-stage companies secure funding from leading investors. Since inception, 80% of URBAN-X companies have gone on to raise their next round of capital.