URBAN-X is MINI’s own start-up accelerator intended to support new ideas coming to market. Whether they be directly associated with mobility or not, these are start-ups that have an idea but need funding or infrastructure. With URBAN-X 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.
Why does MINI do this? For one it keeps the company fresh with ideas and energy. While these start-ups might never come to anything, the ideas and tech produced could benefit MINI or BMW in various ways in the future.
Today MINI and URBAN-X are announcing five early-stage startups joinin the accelerator backed by MINI and venture platform Urban Us. The goal of these five is to make an impact on urgent urban issues as the climate crisis reaches new heights.
Brooklyn, NY, September 20, 2021. URBAN-X, the leading urban technology startup accelerator backed by MINI and run in collaboration with Urban Us, today announced its tenth cohort of early-stage startups developing solutions for more vibrant cities, and a regenerative and inclusive economy. The five startups are using tools like machine vision and low-cost sensors to address the interrelated challenges of adaptability, circularity and economic opportunity.
Kicking off the start of Climate Week NYC, the launch of Cohort 10 comes as billions of dollars are being invested in climate tech by the public and private sector, aiming to help the nation recover from the pandemic and build a more resilient future.
“Between the pandemic and recent extreme weather disasters in every corner of the world, there is an urgency to bring new solutions to market that reduce emissions, protect critical infrastructure and show a path to a circular economy. URBAN-X is committed to continue supporting entrepreneurs who are building a better future and challenging the status quo,” said Micah Kotch, Managing Director of URBAN-X.
Throughout the duration of the 20-week program, the five companies will have access to URBAN-X’s expansive network of world-class design, engineering and brand experts from MINI and the BMW Group and a global network of mentors in customer development, product development, go-to-market and fundraising. The program will culminate in a summit and investor days this winter where the startups will present their market-ready solutions to a global investor community.
The complete list of URBAN-X Cohort 10 companies include:
- Climatebase: The leading platform for climate employment, connecting mission-driven talent to impactful jobs at climate tech startups and environmental nonprofits around the world
- LimeLoop: Data-driven packaging without the waste for e-commerce brands
- Partsimony: An intelligent network for hardware companies and manufacturers to make smart decisions faster
- Phuc Labs: Digitized separation and sorting of particles in fluids using computer vision, machine learning and AI
- Plentify: An intelligent load management platform that connects home appliances to cleaner, cheaper energy
Launched by MINI in 2016 as part of their innovation and brand strategy practice focused on improving city life, URBAN-X supports up to 20 early-stage startups per year building solutions to address complex challenges facing cities. URBAN-X has supported over 70 companies, with 85% of companies having gone on to raise their next round of capital.
Most recently, portfolio company Versatile, a construction technology company, secured $80M in their Series B, while Toggle, the leading construction robotics company using automation to optimize rebar assembly, and Thrilling, the Black and woman-owned digital marketplace for vintage and secondhand shopping, closed their Series A rounds. ClearRoad, the digital road pricing startup, also secured its seed round.
“The very first idea of MINI back in 1959 was to provide a solution to the mobility pressing issues of that time. Since then, MINI has always believed in the power of clever solutions – entrepreneurs, designers and engineers have an indispensable role to play in our cities. Their ability to leverage creativity and speed is needed for a connected and sustainable future for urban cities – which are MINI’s natural habitat,” said Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “Now supporting over 70 startups, we are excited to celebrate this major milestone with these exceptional founders, who are working to truly make an impact in this climate.”
“Cities encompass many of the issues and transitions that need to happen in the next decade,” said Shilpi Kumar, Partner at Urban Us. “We’re excited to be working with these startup teams who are building a range of critical solutions to upgrade our cities for climate change.”