Urbantech: 10 more start-ups to accelerate the development of sustainable cities
Ten promising and innovative technology companies are participating in the third round of the Nordic accelerator programme Urbantech.
Like their 2019 and 2020 predecessors in the programme, this new cohort of start-ups is set to accelerate the development of the sustainable cities of tomorrow. According to the UN, up to 70 percent of the world's population is expected to live in cities by 2050. This creates major challenges and calls for new innovative and digital solutions that can push construction and urban development in a more efficient and sustainable direction.
Selected on June 9, the 10 start-ups will help to turbo-charge the development of tech-based solutions for future sustainable cities in the Nordics and around the world.
This is made possible through Urbantech – an innovation programme for the world's most promising and innovative technology start-ups. Three Danish corporations - COWI, VKR Holding/VELUX and EWII – are behind the initiative, with support from philanthropic organisations Realdania and the Danish Industry Foundation.
In the Urbantech programme, start-ups get the opportunity to scale and grow their solutions through an intense and tailored acceleration process.
Both Danish and international urban development is crying out for innovative and sustainable solutions, and many are looking in the direction of Denmark because we have a strong reputation in sustainable urban development. And with good reason. The level among the selected in this year's Urbantech is sky-high - both among the international and Danish start-ups. In the three years we have been running Urbantech, the Danish applicants in the pile have just gotten better and better. It bodes well for the industry – said Nina Kovsted Helk, Philanthropy Director at Realdania.
Green urban mobility and new approaches to sound
Through Urbantech, the start-ups team up with the three Danish companies COWI, VKR Holding/ VELUX and EWII. They will help the selected entrepreneurs to further develop their technologies and businesses. The innovative approaches coming into play range from advanced materials and innovative uses of sensors, to new ways of managing projects and assets in the urban space and gaining strategic insights from data flows plus technology with a potential to be applied at scale, yielding significant sustainability gains for cities around the world.
Urbantech contributes to a stronger Danish ecosystem within green and smart urban solutions. It happens through attracting lots of innovative products, creative companies and talent to Denmark. As something special, it is worth emphasizing that in the 2021 edition of Urbantech, four Danish start-ups have succeeded in becoming among the ten selected for the program despite fierce competition from more than 140 other companies in 40 countries – said Thomas Hofman-Bang, CEO of Industriens Fond.
Urbantech creates business results for all in involved
This is the third time Urbantech runs as a programme to produce dozens of successful pilots - and many onward collaborations. These include transparent solar cells applied in new ways, sensors for improving indoor climate, and new ways to map information at the scale of cities. Furthermore, for many start-ups, the collaboration provides a boost to their commercial development. It also helps many of them raise additional funds essential to scaling their solutions. The supporting business partners also experience benefits from the collaborations:
To create more liveable and sustainable cities, and succeed in the green transition, we need data and new technology. At the same time, COVID-19 has not only emphasised that the future is digital, while demonstrating that we can change much more, and faster, than anticipated. To that end, Urbantech is more important than ever: It provides a unique platform for COWI to work with and learn from some of the world’s most promising tech start-ups and together accelerate the development of pioneering urban solutions that are both commercially and environmentally sustainable – said Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO of COWI.
We look forward to this year's team of innovative companies with ideas for sustainable development of the cities of the future. Our experience from the first years is that this type of collaboration enriches both parties. Urbantech is also an important source of inspiration for our portfolio of businesses - including product development in VELUX – said Mads Kann-Rasmussen, CEO of VKR Holding.
Relevant and ambitious! There is no better way to describe what I have experienced with the many start-ups that have been involved in the Urbantech programme. Every single year, and also again this year, I have been overwhelmed by the spark and the commitment that is being brought to light. I am inspired by meeting start-ups, which I did not really think were obvious to us, to then discover a new world together with them - a world that makes me see new opportunities in my own organisation – said Lars Bonderup Bjørn, CEO of EWII.
The Urbantech programme runs for a total of three years and each year start-ups from the urban tech field are invited to take part in a three-month acceleration programme, with a subsequent alumni programme. Both Danish and International technology start-ups can apply. This is the third time the programme is running. The first time was in the summer of 2019. BLOXHUB will be the unifying venue for all physical events, but due to COVID-19, large parts of the programme in 2021 will be held virtually.
The purpose of Urbantech is to link Danish strengths in architecture, design and urban development with international expertise, technological innovation and business development. Urbantech was founded by COWI, VKR Holding/VELUX and EWII, which all invest time, talent and resources in the programme. Urbantech is also supported by philanthropic organisations Realdania and the Danish Industry Foundation.
The programme is powered by Rainmaking, in collaboration with BLOXHUB, the Danish Design Centre, the Danish Architecture Center, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and IBM. Rainmaking operates and facilitates the programme.