URBAN-X Introduces Eight Smart City Startups Improving Cities Through Tech and Design

By Ken Briodagh March 08, 2017

According to a recent announcement, New York City’s Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, CTO Miguel Gamiño, and stakeholders from the city’s urbantech ecosystem got together recently in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to welcome the URBAN-X technology accelerator to its new home. 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 Micah Kotch, Managing Director, URBAN-X. “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.”

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 Shawn Broderick, General Partner, SOSV. “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 its Cohort 02, the eight companies comprising its second class of startups. 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.

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. 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 to 20 percent 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.

“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 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.”

The inaugural cohort of URBAN-X launched in 2016 and accelerated nine companies: Brooklyness, Buzzware, CTY, Farmshelf, Industrial/Organic, Multimer, Nello, Samocat and stae. URBAN-X is currently accepting applications for its next cohort, which will begin in late Summer 2017.

Edited by Alicia Young

Editorial Director

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