“There has never been a better time to take a long-term view and use technology to solve major problems, and we’ve never needed the solutions more than we do right now.” - Sam Altman, Hard Tech is Back, 11 March 2016.

A new supersonic jet. A robotic lab assistant. A telecoms satellite that fits in your carry on. This isn’t science fiction. This is YC making good on their promise to seek out more founders that want to solve major problems. YC knows that despite their access to some of the best early stage investors, hard tech is still a hard sell. But the Hard Tech cause might be helped by YC’s second billion dollar exit. Cruise, a hardware and software company that makes self driving car tech, was recently acquired by GM.

Despite YC’s track record and access to some of the greatest early stage investors, hard tech is harder to fund. This has been our experience too. In fact, it’s often the case that one of the final discussion points on an investment is what happens when they struggle to put together a seed round? It’s not always going to end happily, but Urban.Us exists to get more hard tech into the service of cities, so we’ll frequently take on the risk and try to find creative ways around it. This is one of the reasons we send these updates and why we’re beginning to organize Angel.co syndicates.

Here are some of our favorite YC urbantech startups.   

[Start-up Candidate] ACRE (YC W16) makes it easy to build homes that don’t require any energy (Net Zero). Take a look.

[Start-up Candidate] Mistbox has found a cheap, simple way to make your AC unit up to 30% more efficient, while keeping your home cool on the hottest days. Read more here.

[Opportunity] New Lab is accepting resident member applications in NYC. They already have a fantastic community and they have one of the best co-working spaces we’ve ever seen. Hardware-centric, urbantech, growth-stage companies should apply here.  

[Opportunity] Venture Deals is an online class from Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. We’ve not yet seen a fundraising simulator, but this might be the next best thing. The class runs from April 24th to June 16th. Register for free.

[Insights] Less but better looks at how to stay focused on the most important things by learning how to say no. This challenge creeps into every phase of startup growth because focus leads to success, which leads to distraction. It’s worth the 5min to watch now. (HT Jon Smidt)

[Insights] CBInsights takes a look at Urbantech with 55 companies that are working to make cities better. Take a look.

[Insights] The humble offer letter gets a major makeover from eShares. We like it.

[Insights] The NYTimes explains how NYC gets it’s water. The upside of great infrastructure is that it’s largely invisible. But maybe the invisibility explains how we tend to underinvest in it over time. How NY Gets It’s Water. (HT Nick Grossman)

[Start-up News] Govtech Magazine talks with Ahmad, CEO of OneConcern about why they got started and how the first product is progressing.

[Start-up News] Architizer A+ Awards finalists are online. Check them out and vote for the very best in commercial architecture from sub 1,000 sf homes to building apps and software.

[Start-up News] Skycatch is hosting a commercial drones meet-up at their offices in SF on Thursday. Great way to check out the state of the art in drone applications.

[Start-up News] Radiator Labs was profiled in The New York Times and we worked with them on an Angel.co syndicate that raised 266% of it’s original target in less than a week.

Have a great week,
- Shaun, Stonly and Anthony.

P.S. We’re sharing more frequent updates on Facebook!

P.P.S. Maybe writing will be replaced by Snapchat videos. Until then, The Economist has your back with six little writing rules from George Orwell.

P.P.P.S Why do we mark our updates in weeks (like WK112)? We’re inspired by the Wait But Why Life Calendar

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