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Start-ups re-imagine city life

The start-ups are working on solutions to some of the biggest problems cities face around the world

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Recently graduated Cohort 04 present their ideas to the audience. Photo: Sara Kerens
Recently graduated Cohort 04 present their ideas to the audience. Photo: Sara Kerens

Smart cities tech accelerator Urban-X, founded by Mini and in partnership with Urban Us, hosted an event for seven start-ups to showcase new hardware, software and IoT platforms to potential investors, customers and public sector leaders.

 

The start-up programme recently graduated its fourth cohort which have been working on solutions to solve some of the biggest problems cities face around the world, such as optimising building construction, making residential real estate rentals more transparent, improving personal mobility and road safety, fast, cheap road tolls, and cutting energy waste in commercial office buildings.

 

Demo day

 

The demo day event kicked off a series of investor meetings that the start-ups will have with leading venture capitalists in New York, San Francisco and Palo Alto.

 

“Cohort 04 is a group of incredibly creative, inventive and driven entrepreneurs,” said Micah Kotch, managing director, Urban-X. “Improving the way our cities work has always required new thinking, and we’re excited about what comes next for these teams.”

 

The full list of Cohort 04 companies include:

  • Avvir automates quality assurance for the construction industry, with a view to providing real-time insights into the progress and potential defects on a project
  • Campsyte aims to help city dwellers to easily find and book private outdoor event space
  • ClearRoad helps government agencies automate toll road pricing for any section of road without the need for traditional proprietary hardware infrastructure
  • Open Data Nation analyses billions of public data records for cities and insurance carriers to help 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 seeks to make 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
  • Rentlogic is a data-driven, letter-grade rating system for apartment buildings that aims to bring transparency and standardisation to the residential real estate market
  • Sapient Industries has developed a smart outlet that senses and learns human behaviour patterns in order to help automate a building’s energy management.

In the coming weeks, the Cohort 04 start-ups will meet with potential investors in New York and California. In addition to investments that Urban-X and Urban Us made as part of the accelerator programme, funds and individuals that have invested in Urban-X portfolio companies include Fred Wilson, Brad Burnham, Edgar Bronfman Jr, BMW iVentures, Draper Associates, Fontinalis Partners, Ekistic Ventures, Wireframe Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Samsung Next, Story Ventures, Kairos, and UL Ventures.

“Improving the way our cities work has always required new thinking, and we’re excited about what comes next for these teams”

Founded by Mini, an independent part of BMW Group, 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 start-ups for its competitive, five-month programme of product and business development.

 

The accelerator invests $100,000 in each start-up and puts them to work with a dedicated, in-house team of engineering, design and business experts. It also involves working trips to Munich, San Francisco and other major cities and culminates in founders presenting to an audience of investors, thought leaders and media.

 

If you like this, you might be interested in reading the following:

 

Mini launches peer-to-peer car share

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Life in an urban cabin

Mini Living is a long-term research project into the future of urban habitats and how innovative design can support our cities

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The changing face of mobility

New report explores the impact shared services, electric vehicles connected cars and other developments are having on transportation

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