News | March 7, 2017

URBAN-X Launches In Brooklyn, Introduces Eight Startups Improving Cities Through Technology And Design

The startup accelerator by MINI and SOSV kicks off cohort 02 at its new creative home in Greenpoint.

Brooklyn, NY /PRNewswire/ - New York City's Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamiño, and stakeholders from the city's urbantech ecosystem convened in Greenpoint, Brooklyn last week to welcome URBAN-X to its new home within design space A/D/O. Founded by MINI with joint venture partner SOSV, URBAN-X is a venture accelerator that educates, invests in and advocates for startups shaping the future of cities through technology and design.

"Cities are fertile ground for profound change," said URBAN-X Managing Director Micah Kotch. "We're proud to make our home in Brooklyn, where both private and public sector innovation across a diversity of perspectives has created a global destination for entrepreneurs who are generating new solutions to some of our most pressing urban challenges."

As URBAN-X welcomes its newest cohort, it will advance its mission to support early-stage companies in making compelling ideas viable and scalable through three core principles: technology geared towards human need, design that drives adoption, and city-scale ambition.

"URBAN-X is part of our evolving portfolio of projects that seek to improve urban life through a rigorous design-thinking approach – which is at the core of all our initiatives," said Head of MINI Brand Strategy and Business Innovation Esther Bahne. "We're proud to be working with these startups to turn their ideas into real impact for people. And for MINI, exploring the nexus of tech, services, data and city infrastructure in the emerging city of tomorrow is highly relevant to the development of our own offer."

Through each 14-week program cycle, URBAN-X companies benefit from the expertise of world-class mentors, significant in-kind services and $60,000 in seed capital investment. In addition to an educational program with visiting industry leaders, companies receive ongoing support from electrical and mechanical engineers, industrial design talent from MINI and BMW, user-experience and interface designers, and experts in investment strategy, sales, growth and communications. Additionally, MINI and SOSV offer each startup working trips to Germany and China, respectively.

"SOSV is proud to be working with MINI in bringing urban tech solutions to market," said SOSV General Partner Shawn Broderick. "As a global venture capital firm accelerating over 150 startups per year around the globe, we have brought hundreds of products to market focused on IoT, software, life-sciences, food tech, and more. We are thrilled to leverage our global network of mentors, investors, and partners to bring these urban solutions to market."

Recently, URBAN-X unveiled Cohort 02, the eight companies comprising its second cohort. With a mission to improve urban life by making it smarter, more efficient and more enjoyable, Cohort 02 is driving the sustainable transportation of cargo, helping the visually-impaired better navigate through their communities, harnessing the potential of big data for blue collar industries, and more. Details on each startup follow.

O2-O2 is working to enable those in polluted megacities from Beijing to London to take back the streets, and to commute and exercise without fear of pollution. O2-O2 has a unique mask technology solution which uses clean, filtered air to protect its customer, and in so doing, provide unparalleled comfort, performance and fashion.

buildsense.io offers machine learning software that analyzes data from a building's existing HVAC automation system to determine room occupancy in real-time -- with no need to install new sensors. The platform then adjusts ventilation systems to fit the needs of people inside, saving buildings 10-20% on their total energy bill and increasing happiness, health and productivity for occupants.

Citiesense creates data-driven maps and dashboards with layers of information to track property changes in urban areas, guiding real estate investors and other local stakeholders to smarter development decisions. Founded in New York, the company aims to help real estate industry professionals form a clearer understanding of local market demand and neighborhood dynamics.

contextere is an Industrial IoT software company enabling the connected workforce. Its team is developing an intelligent personal agent that delivers actionable insights at the point of service, to make every worker more skilled, reduce human error and save lives. Using human-centric machine learning and intelligent context generation, contextere is transforming the future of work.

Revmax develops fleet management and routing software for ride-hail vehicles. Its technology maximizes vehicle utilization by proactively forecasting rider demand based on historical data and future events. Revmax ensures that vehicles are in the optimal location to find rides quickly -- increasing fleet revenue while reducing pollution and congestion.

Sencity is reimagining connected urban street furniture, starting with one of our most pressing concerns: waste. Its TetraBIN product is an interactive receptacle that brings delightful surprise and reward to the simple act of trash disposal, leveraging interaction into an effective behavior shift. Providing new outlets for information, entertainment, and experience, Sencity is changing the way we think about responsibility, and imbuing the urban environment with moments of joy.

Upcycles develops unique human-electric cargo tricycles for moving goods around urban environments, up to and including the last mile. Their growing zero-emissions fleet is used by delivery services across New York. While delivery technology edges towards automation, Upcycles represents a socially responsible, transitional step that is reliable and efficient.

WearWorks is a haptics design company using sensory feedback systems to communicate information entirely via touch. Using vibration-based language, their product augments the senses of blind and visually impaired users through a non-visual interface, helping them to easily and effectively navigate the world around them.

Last week's premiere also included a keynote with New York City's Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan and Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamiño. The conversation centered around the necessity of rallying behind emergent ideas as the future of cities reaches an inflection point.

"As New York's Chief Digital Officer, part of my role is to recognize opportunities to bring more startups to the city, and URBAN-X is exactly the kind of organization that helps us accomplish that goal," said Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan. "We strive to build a culture that values innovation, entrepreneurship, and solutions-driven action that benefits city residents and includes them in the process. I look forward to working with the URBAN-X team to scale change in an impactful way and work toward our shared goal of a better New York."

"To someone who recently arrived in New York, the city's goal of leveraging technology to drive equity in government services is a game-changer," said Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamino. "From public services in transportation and public health to housing and healthy food, we're at a point in time where we have the tools to reimagine how the government and city residents can work together, and there's no better place to start that movement than New York. I'm thrilled to welcome this global cohort of entrepreneurs to this community and look forward to working together."

URBAN-X 02 will present its market-ready prototypes and business concepts to customers, prospective partners, media, and leading investors on Demo Day, to be held May 4, 2017 at A/D/O.

In its new home at A/D/O, URBAN-X companies become part of a creative ecosystem with opportunity for daily exposure to their end consumer. The space offers access to a range of potential collaboration partners as well as a public program intended to provoke and invigorate the creative practice, spark debate and inspire important new work. A/D/O invites URBAN-X companies to utilize its space for real-time feedback – for example, by showcasing working prototypes at its design store.

"For founders that are solving big problems, URBAN-X provides the runway to get off the ground," notes Amanda Weeks, URBAN-X alum and founder of Industrial/Organic. "Many startups in this space have a higher barrier to achieving traction, as our business models generally include hardware and physical infrastructure, which are nearly impossible to bootstrap. URBAN-X gave us the validation and resources to get across this barrier, and we closed a pre- seed round four months after Demo Day."

The inaugural cohort of URBAN-X launched in 2016 and accelerated nine companies: Brooklyness, Buzzware, CTY, Farmshelf, Industrial/Organic, Multimer, Nello, Samocat and stae. Since the program's conclusion, members of URBAN-X 01 have gone on to secure additional investor and crowd funding while benefiting from the broader URBAN-X and A/D/O network. Brooklyness is now selling its electric CMYK 5.0 folding bikes in The Shop at A/D/O.

URBAN-X is currently accepting applications for its next cohort (click this link to be directed to the application page). URBAN-X 03 will begin in late Summer 2017.

About URBAN-X
URBAN-X is a venture accelerator that educates, invests in and advocates for companies shaping the future of cities through technology and design. Founded by MINI with joint venture partner SOSV, URBAN-X forges meaningful connections with leaders in the public and private sectors, helping early-stage startups turn compelling ideas into viable, scalable solutions for urban life.

URBAN-X 02, the accelerator's second cohort, premiered its eight companies in March 2017 and will conclude on May 4th, 2017 with Demo Day. URBAN-X 01, the inaugural cohort, consisted of nine companies, who graduated from the program in June 2016. Applications for URBAN-X 03 are currently open at urban-x.com.

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. As part of A/D/O, URBAN-X companies join a creative ecosystem, which stimulates innovation through inspiration and inclusive dialogue.

Find URBAN-X on Twitter/Instagram at @urbanxaccel and on Facebook: facebook.com/urbanxaccel.

About MINI
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 in the U.S. through a network of 125 MINI passenger car dealers in 39 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops.

SOURCE: URBAN-X

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