“An insurgent facing a lot of obstacles in various markets” - David Axelrod, discussing Uber in 2014.

Regulatory risk is not new to tech companies. But so far, most of that risk has played out online or in a limited number of sectors. As tech firms take on problems in older sectors, they’re discovering a more regulated and complex world. Over the last few weeks, Tesla, AirBnB, and Waze have made news because of various regulatory challenges.

Tesla makes the safest car, according to safety test results. But the recent deadly accident linked to its autopilot system seems likely to open a round of lobbying efforts related to autonomous cars. Tesla’s hard-won advances may count for less if regulators are convinced to slow the adoption of emerging autonomous tech.

As AirBnB grows into one of today’s most valuable companies, it’s attracting more attention from regulators. For example,  in its largest market, New York, it’s at odds with multiple stakeholders from hotels to affordable housing advocates. NYC is starting to feel like a “must-win” city because so many other cities look to NYC for policy inspiration.

Waze is making a deliberate effort to work with cities to help them better understand and respond to traffic. But even as Waze succeeds in helping alleviate traffic, some of the resulting changes are upsetting homeowners, who find traffic being directed to previously quiet streets.

Then there is emerging tech versus establishment tech. 18F has been clarifying its role within government procurement as larger IT firms express concern about its mandate. Among other things, 18F aims to increase competition, which should be good news for startups, but it might mean fewer opportunities for larger tech firms. 

Software might be eating the world, but as tech shows up in more sectors, regulators will have a lot to say about what is on the menu.

[News] YC New Cities - YC recently announced its YC’s new cities initiative. The initiative will explore issues such as affordable housing and how to ensure that cities are always open to change.

[Opportunity] The Urban Future Competition is a new smart cities and smart grid competition in NYC. The deadline is July 15. Apply here.

[Opportunity] URBAN-X by MINI and HAX is partnering to host this summer’s premier pitch event for entrepreneurs and engineers shaping the future of cities through technology. RSVP or register to pitch.

[Insights] Negative Churn is not just an idea for SaaS businesses. It might just be one of the most important concepts to grow any business. David Skok explains.

[Insights] The Robots Are Coming. McKinsey explores where machines could replace humans.

[Opportunities] Featured career opportunities - Mark43 (18 positions in New York), Architizer (12 positions in New York), Seamlessdocs (8 positions in New York), and Future Motion (6 positions in Santa Cruz), and there are even more opportunities with other Urban.Us portfolio companies on AngelList.

Finally, here are 2 new startups we’re excited about. We’d love to hear what you think.

[Startup Candidate] Numina provides real-time insights from streets. Learn more.

[Startup Candidate] Riide has created a connected e-bike and distribution strategy that is putting new bike owners on the road. Lean more.

Best,
Shaun, Stonly, Anthony, Mark, & Sonam

P.S. We often talk about the importance of the next decade to reimagine cities. That’s 520 weeks. Hard to believe we’ve been at this for 126 weeks already. 

Special thanks to Urban-X by Mini and HAX, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Amazon, IBM Watson, Chicago Booth, and Autonomy.Paris for working with us to make the Urbantech ecosystem better.

Need more Urban.Us? Find Us on SlackAngel.co and Twitter. Catch up on past updates here.

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