Press release


Seven early-stage urbantech companies join MINI-backed accelerator to develop solutions that reimagine city life -- from activating public space, to energy efficient building design, to situational tracking for first responders and more.

BROOKLYN, NY,  June 6, 2019. URBAN-X, a leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life, today announced its sixth cohort of companies. URBAN-X is part of the Innovation and Brand Strategy practice at MINI and partners with venture firm, Urban Us. The seven startups were selected from a competitive group of hundreds of applicants from across the globe and are building solutions to some of our cities most pressing issues.

Each company selected will participate in a 20-week intensive accelerator program to help develop hardware, software or IoT products and successful go-to-market strategies. Companies have access to hands-on assistance from URBAN-X’s expansive network of global experts - including world-class engineers and designers from BMW, software developers, policy experts, marketing and sales leaders, UX/UI designers and communications experts. Cohort 06 is also the first class to receive a $150,000 investment per company, up from $100,000 in previous cohorts.

The program will culminate in a Demo Day during Climate Week NYC in September 2019, where teams will present their solutions to an audience of investors, policymakers, customers and more. Following demo day, the companies are introduced to investors at investor days beginning in New York and the Bay Area.

Cohort 06 includes the following startups:
  • 3AM Innovation: Situational tracking during emergencies to improve on-scene awareness for first responders
  • Cove.Tool: Automated building performance modeling to save time and money for early stage design
  • Evolve Energy: Reducing carbon emissions while saving costs via renewable energy, real time pricing and home IOT
  • Food For All: Tackling food waste by partnering with popular restaurants and offering quality meals for as little as $4
  • Hubbster: Building stronger communities by transforming public spaces into social experiences
  • Pi Variables: Enhancing road safety and traffic guidance via innovative hardware, software and design-focused solutions
  • Varuna: A cloud-based platform that provides analytics and insights to improve water quality by optimizing utility operations

MINI launched URBAN-X in 2016 as part of their Innovation and Brand Strategy practice focused on improving city life. URBAN-X engages with the brightest minds solving some of the most complex issues people living in cities face today, like mobility, energy consumption, infrastructure, housing, food waste, water and more. The accelerator now has 44 companies in the portfolio, with 85% of companies having gone on to raise their next round of capital.

“Cohort 06 is working on solutions to some of the most critical issues impacting our cities today,” said Esther Bahne, MINI Head of Brand Strategy & Innovation. “Through URBAN-X, MINI is making an investment that inspires entrepreneurship, design and collaboration with creative thinkers to develop sustainable solutions to real problems.”

“Cities and emerging technology companies are powerful partners in helping to tackle our cities biggest challenges,” said URBAN-X Managing Director, Micah Kotch. “We look forward to working with Cohort 06 and bringing their solutions to scale across a diverse set of industries that impact city living.”

In 2017, Urban Us partnered with URBAN-X to help fund and develop the accelerator’s next generation of human-focused city innovation.

“Urban Us and MINI share a deep commitment to advancing the future of our cities through technology, investment and mentorship,” said Shaun Abrahamson, URBAN-X Investment Committee and Managing Partner at Urban Us. “Since partnering with MINI, we’ve seen incredible results from URBAN-X startups. We are ready to get started to help Cohort 06 startup founders achieve long-lasting results.”

Applications for URBAN-X’s next cohort of startups, Cohort 07 are open. Interested early-stage companies can apply at through October 1, 2019.

URBAN-X is a leading accelerator for startups reimagining city life. Founded by MINI and run in partnership with Urban Us, URBAN-X helps early-stage companies work with and in cities. URBAN-X has a global reach unparalleled by any other urbantech accelerator. Startups have access to a network of over 2,000 partners around the world, including entrepreneurs, investors, and public-sector leaders, who support founders through the URBAN-X program.

During the year, URBAN-X leadership visits cities worldwide—in the US, 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 06 are currently open at 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 interest 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, MINI Living and MINI Fashion.

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 as well as a new non-equity fund focused on areas like project and asset finance.

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.

Journalist notes: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at