Amid North Brooklyn’s man buns and artisanal kale donuts, the Urban-X accelerator is bulking up to focus on smart city challenges.
Technical.ly reports on the hardware-focused accelerator program’s move from Manhattan to trendy Greenpoint. It is relocating to the A/D/O center in order to boost its capacity and space as it gears up for its second cohort.
Urban-X is backed by a joint venture between BMW’s Mini car subsidiary and SOSV, an Irish VC, and runs seed accelerators in China, Taiwan, Ireland as well as the U.S.
The program’s managing director Micah Kotch says the Urban-X is especially suited for hardware startups developing products for smart cities. Specifically, Kotch adds that the accelerator is seeking “people solving really hard problems” in such fields as transportation, public safety, food supply and energy.
These areas of interest are at the crossroads where transportation and smart cities meet, which experts say need stronger collaboration in the future.
A key area which the accelerator can assist participants is to help them develop strong revenue models, which remains a challenge in the emerging smart cities space.
“There’s a lot of buzz around smart cities, but the space is still emerging,” said Kotch. “Some of the business models are still in flux.”
Those startups accepted into the Urban-X accelerator will get the chance to build prototypes with BMW designers and engineers, and join excursions to BMW’s facilities in Munich.
From Brooklyn to China
As well, participants will get the opportunity to travel to Shenzhen, China to visit SOSV’s accelerator which focuses on hardware development.
An example of an Urban-X graduate is Brooklyn-based Industrial/Organic. The startup, which is developing efficient composting systems for cities, recently landed funding from Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.
The application deadline for the 14-week program is Sept. 6. Up to 12 successful applicants will each get $60,000 for a 7% equity share that will be split evenly between SOSV and Mini.
Applications are open to startups from across the U.S. and around the world. Almost half of the accelerator’s first cohort was from outside America.