Top Smart Cities Startup Accelerator, URBAN-X by MINI Graduates Sixth Cohort During Climate Week NYC

Seven new URBAN-X startups present technological solutions to combat the world’s climate emergency and other emerging challenges impacting cities today

Event showcases three eras of MINI models, to celebrate past, present, and future of inspired urban mobility – all-new electric MINI Cooper SE, and historic models reflect brand’s roots in providing efficient urban mobility solutions.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–URBAN-X, by MINI, the leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life, today 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:

  1. 3AM Innovation: Situational tracking during emergencies to improve on-scene awareness for first responders
  2. Cove.Tool: Automated building performance modeling to save time and money for early stage design
  3. Evolve Energy: Reducing carbon emissions while saving costs via renewable energy, real time pricing and home IOT
  4. Food For All: Tackling food waste by partnering with popular restaurants and offering quality meals for as little as $4
  5. Hubbster: Building stronger communities by transforming public spaces into social experiences
  6. Pi-Lit: Enhancing road safety and traffic guidance via innovative hardware, software and design-focused solutions
  7. 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.

Last month, Versatile Natures, a Cohort 03 startup that uses machine learning and AI in a non-intrusive manner to optimize construction processes, announced $5.5 million in seed-funding led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group.

This summer, Cohort 03 company RoadBotics, which is standardizing road assessment globally using computer vision Artificial Intelligence, closed a $7.5 Million Series A investment round lead by AI-focused venture capital fund Radical Ventures.

“Through technology, investment and mentorship, URBAN-X, MINI and Urban Us are supporting founders working to make city life better,” said Shaun Abrahamson, URBAN-X Investment Committee and Managing Partner at Urban Us. “We’re excited by the innovation exhibited by these teams and are thrilled to continue to help bring their products to market at scale.”

In addition to investments that URBAN-X, MINI and Urban Us made as part of the accelerator program, funds and individuals that have invested in URBAN-X portfolio companies include Fred Wilson, Brad Burnham, Edgar Bronfman Jr., BMW i Ventures, Draper Associates, Fontinalis Partners, Ekistic Ventures, Wireframe Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Story Ventures, Kairos, and UL Ventures.

The event will be livestreamed here beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

URBAN-X has 44 companies in its portfolio that are using technology to solve for some of the most complex challenges of city life – from mobility, energy consumption, infrastructure, housing, food waste, water and more. URBAN-X is accepting applications for its next class of startups, Cohort 07, launching winter 2019. Early-stage companies interested can apply here until October 1, 2019.


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; 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.

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. During the year, URBAN-X leadership visits cities worldwide — in the U.S., 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. Find URBAN-X on Twitter & Instagram at @urbanxaccel and on Facebook at

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 intersect 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 and MINI Living.

About Urban Us

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. Urban Us recently launched our third fund to continue our focus on founders reimagining cities.

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 non-equity capital for project finance, asset finance and inventory finance. Our newest partnerships will help startups access partners and customers 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, Blue Bottle Coffee, Refinery29 and ZocDoc. The Urban Us portfolio includes 53 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, BRCK and Rachio.


Molly Hendriksen



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