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Urban-X, a startup accelerator launched by the venture capital fund Urban Us and BMW’s Mini to support companies solving urban problems through cutting-edge technologies, has graduated five startups as part of its tenth class.
At an online event held on Tuesday, the companies demoed their products to a live audience of investors, customers, and public-sector leaders. Each of these firms completed Urban-X’s 20-week program – which provided access to design, engineering, and brand experts from the BMW Group and mentors in customer development, product development, go-to-market, and fundraising – and seeks to tackle problems faced by the urban environment, starting from the need of talent in climate-tech companies to problems associated with the recycling.
Urban-X has also invested at least $100,000 in each startup of the cohort. The development comes as global investor interest continues to grow in both climate and urban technology companies. According to Constructive Capital, urban tech startups raised a record $31.6 billion as of October 2021 — 4.4 times higher than what they did five years ago in 2016.
“The good news is that there is no ignoring the urgency to act, and there is no shortage of exciting companies bringing fresh ideas to the table and reimagining what our future can be. We need better federal policy and more transparent, and long-term market signals to sustain this growth. Over the last five years, we’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most exciting companies taking on our most pressing challenges, and we don’t expect that to slow down anytime soon,” Micah Kotch, managing director at URBAN-X, told Venturebeat.
Here’s the full list of the companies in Urban-X’s tenth class.
- Climatebase: An online platform mobilizing the world’s talent to work on mitigating climate change. It provides a directory that people from any part of the world could use to find and apply for jobs in climate-tech companies and environmental non-profits. In addition to this, Climatebase also runs a fellowship offering access to climate experts, innovators, and leaders.
- LimeLoop: A startup that provides ecommerce retailers with visibility, security, and predictive analytics through smart reusable packaging that offers a shipping life of up to 10 years. The reusable packaging not only leaves a positive environmental impact, but also helps retailers keep a track of the package throughout the journey.
- Partsimony: An AI-driven SaaS network that unifies disparate data from multiple sources to help hardware companies discover vetted manufacturers and take their product from prototype to mass production stage with less time and capital investment.
- Phuc Labs: A company pioneering AI-powered sorting and separation of mixed particles suspended in liquids. Its systems leverage AI and ML to identify particles on the basis of their size, color, and shape, and then automatically separate them based on those characteristics. Phuc Labs can enable smart reclamation of raw materials. For instance, it could help with the separation of useful metals during the process of battery recycling.
- Plentify: A startup turning home appliances into intelligent assets with an AI-powered load management platform that balances the needs of the user and the grid for around five to 10 times cheaper energy consumption.
Urban-X debuted back in 2016 as part of Mini’s innovation and strategy initiative focused on improving city life with sustainable and resilient solutions. The accelerator has backed over 60 companies so far and has more than 2,000 partners in its investor and entrepreneurial network. Its average investment per company is estimated to be $10 million.
“Cities can look to innovation for solutions to climate change, inclusive economic growth, and ways to establish community,” Shilpi Kumar, partner at Urban Us, said. “In the past five months, Cohort 10 founders fine-tuned their companies to set themselves up for growth and [to] maximize impact. We’re excited for our founders and look forward to continuing to support them on their journeys.”