Press release


Top Smart Cities Tech Accelerator URBAN-X by MINI and Urban Us Graduates Fourth Cohort, Alumni Startups Hit New Funding Milestones

Startups in accelerator present solutions for improving city life and infrastructure, fundraising process begins with investors in New York and California

BROOKLYN, NY ,  September 27, 2018.

URBAN-X , the leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life, founded by MINI and in partnership with Urban Us, graduated its fourth cohort of startup companies today, hosting an event for seven startups to showcase new hardware, software and IoT platforms to potential investors, customers and public-sector leaders.

The startups in the URBAN-X Cohort 04 are working on solutions to some of the biggest problems cities face around the world, such as optimizing 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. The Demo Day event kicked off a series of investor meetings the startups will have with top venture capitalists in New York, San Francisco and Palo Alto.

Leading venture investors, public officials, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders interacted with everyday citizens of New York, listening to presentations and participating in live demonstrations from each of the startups who showcased their market-ready prototypes to an in-person audience of more than 250 and thousands online through a livestream in partnership with Futurism.

“We’re thrilled to work with these innovative entrepreneurs who are pushing the boundaries of what technology can do for our cities,” said Head of MINI Brand Strategy and Business Innovation Esther Bahne . “The MINI brand’s investment in URBAN-X provides a platform to collaborate with some of the brightest minds and creative urban thinkers around the world, who are helping to shape the future of our cities.”

Today’s event was an opportunity for Cohort 04 startups not only to demonstrate the product developments made during URBAN-X’s 20-week accelerator program, but also to seek additional investment to grow their companies.

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

URBAN-X has a proven track record in helping early-stage companies secure funding from leading investors. Six of the seven companies in the URBAN-X Cohort 03 are raising their next round of capital. One of those startups, Lunewave, which develops high-performance sensors for fully autonomous vehicles, recently announced a $5 million investment from a group that includes BMW iVentures. This represents the first URBAN-X startup to work with the BMW Startup Garage program and receive investment from the German automaker’s venture capital arm.

Blueprint Power , another Cohort 03 company, which helps large real estate companies transform their urban portfolios into producers of clean, intelligent suppliers of electricity recently closed their $3.5M Series-A financing. Cohort 04 startup Rentlogic, which provides a residential real estate rating system, recently closed a $2.4 million round of seed capital.

“Cohort 04 has already been a great success and today was an exciting milestone for each of these companies,” said Mark Paris, Co-Founder of Urban Us. “We look forward to continue our work with these entrepreneurs, to help them bring their products to market at scale and positively impact city life.”

In the coming weeks, the Cohort 04 startups 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 program, 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.

The full list of Cohort 04 companies include:

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

A live stream of the event will be made available through Futurism and its YouTube page. Click here to join at 10:00 a.m. ET.

URBAN-X Cohort 05 will launch this fall. URBAN-X is also accepting applications for its next class of startups, Cohort 06, launching summer 2019. Early-stage companies interested can apply here until March 15th, 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 $100,000 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. Applications for Cohort 05 are currently open at Find URBAN-X on Twitter & Instagram at @urbanxaccel and on Facebook at

About MINI in the U.S.
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 128 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. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of four unique vehicles.

About Urban Us
Urban Us is the seed stage venture platform for startups re-imagining city life. We believe startups will transform cities as they seek to create opportunity even as they grapple with climate change and growing urban populations.

Urban Us is focused on sectors including built environment, real estate, infrastructure, food, waste, water, public health and safety, energy, govtech, transportation and mobility. Early stage investments are re-imagining sectors like mobility, built environment, local government and utilities. Investments include Architizer, Bowery Farming, BRCK,, Mark43, Miles, OneConcern, OneWheel,, Revivn, Seamlessdocs, Starcity and Skycatch. With this latest cohort, the Urban Us portfolio will include 44 companies.

The Urban Us team has been doing seed stage investing for more than a decade. We have built our own startups, with a total of four exits. Our team has also managed a venture fund at Citigroup, policy at Roosevelt Institute and research at The Economist. We went to MIT, Harvard & Wharton in engineering, business & policy.