The mission of Urban-X is “to catalyze, educate, invest in, and advocate for startups who are shaping the future of cities through technology”. Nick Plante, general partner of Urban-X, says that this accelerator is an opportunity to think at a truly enormous scale, beyond individual consumers and businesses. The goal of Urban-X is to take what is learned from accelerating hardware and software and to apply this to city-scale and societal scale problems. Urban-X addresses problems as overcrowding, energy production, storage, mass transit, homelessness, and safety and security.
The accelerator, starting in New York city, is backing 10 startups which are focused on intelligent cities, society scale challenges, and urban hyper growth. MINI and HAX together fund each startup with $60,000, provide access to both company’s networks, and mentoring them in the execution of making cities more sustainable. The right knowledge mix of design and engineering, in which MINI is a pioneer, and the hardware and software, in which HAX excels, provide the infrastructure, products, services, and technologies necessary to create a future-proof city.
MINI’s head of impact venture explains that: “in the 50s, cities were built around cars, but nowadays the city becomes an operating system, into which services will be plugged; a platform of dreams will be realized. MINI wants to have an active part in this, by helping to build a city that becomes more livable and enjoyable”. Additionally, competitors such as Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Toyota have been involved in programs that support entrepreneurs and start-ups over the last years. By establishing incubators or accelerators, the Goliaths now transform their business model by seeking connections with the smaller David’s to get easier access to innovation and the talent behind it. Eventually, being involved in a corporate accelerator will leave a company with a positive return on reputation, culture, and investment.
Sustainia, together with C40 and Realdania, published the Cities100 report. This study contains a wide line-up of inspirational examples illustrating that cities are already addressing climate change on a global scale. As a sample, here are two (shortened) cases from the report from Melbourne and Jakarta:
Please refer to www.sustainia.me/cities for the full report.
If you want to know more about how your company can initiate an accelerator, send Josée van der Hoek an email via email@example.com or call +31 6 28 02 18 80, to find out how Finch & Beak can help you.