“New York City is doing its homework. And the entire world is the beneficiary.”
-  Jeffrey D. Sachs, Earth Institute at Columbia University.

City commitments to climate action are quickly being transformed into policy. Policy makers understand that if we’re to meet aggressive goals, it won’t be enough just to look at energy production and distribution systems. We need to rethink how cities use energy. Now we’re starting to see more specific policies and tools to accelerate the adoption of more efficient building technologies.

It’s been hard to quickly and accurately identify buildings that can benefit most from retrofits. MIT just shared a tool it used to help Boston identify such buildings and inform its energy retrofit policies. In NYC, a major new initiative is focusing on improving the performance of heating systems. And in Miami, new construction above 7,000 square feet will have to be LEED certified or pay an additional fee of 5% of construction costs.

Many of the founders we meet have anticipated building energy use as a key opportunity. We think these new policies will help startups show off their efficacy as cities share outcomes with their peers. This means it’s likely that the best policy and products will be replicated quickly. More on building energy initiatives in Boston, NYC and Miami Beach.

[Startup Candidate] Gecko Robotics makes robots that climb. This lets them inspect critical infrastructure and while they don’t fly, Gecko’s robots remind us a lot of commercial drone opportunities. Take a look.

[Startup Candidate] Looie wants to change where and how we go. There is unrelenting innovation in mobility, but Looie wants to change an old piece of infrastructure – city bathrooms. Take a look.

[Startup Candidate] Bulletin is making it easier for small retailers to access retail space in the biggest cities, beginning in NYC. Take a look.

[Startup Candidate] LOVELAND Technologies’ mission is to publicly map every single parcel on Earth. Take a look.

[Opportunity] Amazon Launchpad call for startups – We've partnered with Amazon Launchpad to find the best retail-ready startups to showcase on the Launchpad platform. It's a great opportunity to potentially work with Amazon as a buyer and get unique exposure plus support. Reach out to see if you qualify.

[Insight] Corporate accelerator programs – Corporate ventures get mixed support from VCs and we expect at least the same response to corporate accelerators, whose numbers are swelling. Seed might just be too early to benefit from corporate relationships but just like CVC, a lot depends on how the program is managed. What do you think?  

[Insight] Are megacities more important than nations? Parag Khanna offers a view of a world of a few dozen megacities or highly connected regions. More from Quartz.

[Startup News] Mark43 raised $27M in a series B round from new and returning investors including Ashton Kutcher, Jeff Bezos, Gen. Petraeus and others. The new round will help the team respond to the interest resulting from their successful first deployment in Washington DC last year. More here.

[Startup News] There are more than 60 open positions from 14 companies including engineering at Mark43, marketing at Future Motion and data wrangling at Blocpower. Additional opportunities in the Bay Area, New York, Berlin and Denver are listed on angel.co.

[Urbantech Playbook] Urbantech Challenges – We’ve started on the next chapter of the Urbantech playbook. Our goal is to help founders explore problems and come up with ideas for new urbantech startups. Please take a look and let us know what you think.

Finally, we have some news of our own. We’re excited to welcome Mark Paris to the team. Some of you have already met Mark through his work at Citigroup, so you already know why we’re very excited to work with him. Welcome, Mark.

 - Shaun, Stonly, Anthony and Mark

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