Hello ,

No challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” - President Barack Obama, State of the Union, Jan 20, 2015.

This wasn’t the bit where the President winked. A few days before SOTU, The Economist weighed in with a special report on energy and technology and the BBC discussed analysis showing how low energy urbanization can help to achieve climate goals.

Climate change is why we’re seeing unprecedented interest from organizations who haven’t paid much attention to startups. From utilities and cities to consumer electronics companies and insurance companies, we’re seeing interest in figuring out how to find, fund, partner and buy from startups who can help is change how we live in cities.

It’s tempting to dismiss those who are newly interested in startups as a natural part of an economic or hype cycle - soon to be casualties of a down-cycle. After all, as we survey 2015 trends from some of the most successful early stage investors, climate change doesn’t appear as an opportunity - banking, healthcare, and security do but not climate.

Our sense is that something else is going on. This is not just about venture fund returns. There is a growing recognition across multiple industries that climate is at once the greatest crisis and opportunity. But the required innovation cannot be left exclusively to their internal R&D teams. There is simply too much to master, too much to test, and too much to do

[Insight] Hire, Raise, Dent - First Round’s Rob Hayes offers great advice on how founders should allocate time to things they often don’t enjoy like hiring and fundraising in “Here’s the advice I give all of our first time founders”.

[Opportunity] Launch Festival - Jason Calacanis has created one of the few startup launch platforms to rival a YC Demo day. There is still time to apply.

[Insight] Why Investor Updates Are Really Really Important - Jason gets another mention, because he is really really right and he does a much better job explaining than we do

[Opportunity] A+ Awards - Now in it’s 3rd year, the definitive architectural award program includes 33 product categories. It’s a chance to gain visibility with one of the most important stakeholders in real estate - architects. Deadline is January 30th.

[Startup Candidate] Bringing transparency to waste collection - Itscollected is building the first marketplace for waste management, beginning with London. Please let us know what you think about Itscollected.

[Startup Candidate] The sharing economy for storage - AirBnB is a great option for travelers. Roost, wants to provide similar convenience, pricing and experience to the personal storage business. Please let us know what you think about Roost.

[Founder Ask] Matching Grants - HandUp successfully partnered with Google on a program to match donations to people experiencing poverty in the Bay Area. They would appreciate your advice on how to work with other organizations as they expand to more cities.


Smart City Startups Event Update - We’ll soon formally announce about new sponsors including Direct Energy, Cognicity (Canary Wharf Group) and the National League of Cities. More than half of our summit attendees have already confirmed. We are now publishing the current list of registered participants.

[Insight] Connecting Real Estate Values to Innovations in Mobility - this report from Cushman and Wakefield highlights the urgent need for new urban mobility solutions and highlights why we expect real estate investors to take a keener interest in emerging mobility solutions. Download the report [PDF]. (thanks for sharing, Chip Gesner).  

Knight Cities Podcast - Shaun had the opportunity to talk with Carol Coletta about how startups can solve some of the greatest challenges facing cities. Listen to the interview.

[Jobs] Right now 6 Urban.Us companies are hiring - maybe you know someone who might be right for one of these 28 opportunities. Take a look.

Have a great weekend.

Shaun & Stonly

P.S. Need more Urban.Us? Find Us on Angel.co and Twitter.