Hello ,

“I don’t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that is more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities.” –Walt Disney.

Fifty years ago, Walt Disney shared his vision for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). The EPCOT of today is nothing like what Walt proposed, but its main attractions capture much of what he believed - that imagination could offer endless opportunities for a better future. Maybe that’s why the main attraction at EPCOT ends with a view of what is likely Jobs or Woz toiling away in a garage on the first home computer.

In his initial concepts, Walt recognized the importance of using automobiles to get to and from EPCOT. But cars and trucks weren’t welcome in the city center. He put pedestrians at the center, along with electric people movers and bike paths. In fact, the circular campus design for EPCOT reminds us a lot of the new Apple campus. The completely covered central business area, effectively, is also what Google has embraced for its new campus.

But perhaps most interestingly, Walt was very clear that this was just the start. He was certain that as people lived in the space, they would reveal new needs. And then he believed that imagination and the system of free enterprise would respond with a continuous stream of innovations. So he proposed an ownership structure that would allow his company to make ongoing upgrades to people’s homes, as new and better tech, materials, and systems became available.

While we’re excited about Star Wars and our Sphero BB8 (which came out of the Disney-Techstars program), we think Walt Disney might have left us much more than his company. His greatest gift might be his steadfast belief that imagination and business can collaborate to produce a continuous flow of ideas that make city life better. We’re thankful that so many of you share Walt’s belief. Here is Walt Disney’s 1966 E.P.C.O.T pitch. (Hat tip to Jonathon Ende for sharing).

[Urban.Us Update] Urbantech Radar 2.0 - we’ve been working on a new interface along with a significant data update to highlight investors as well as companies. We’d love your help to ensure that we haven’t missed any companies.

[Startup Candidate] Ride Report - “Waze for biking” to support riders and the cities that want to encourage riding.

[Startup Candidate] Axlehire - redefining urban logistics by providing same-day fulfilment for large retailers.

[Startup Candidate] Aquacloud - offering a better way to monitor the quality of municipal water.

[Opportunity] The Architizer A+ Awards deadline is approaching. It’s the best way to get your products in front of the leading community of commercial architects from around the globe. Enter now.

[Insights] Infrastructure & Climate Change - The 2009 version of this presentation has been described as one of the most depressing presentations ever. Saul works through the climate implications of various personal and public purchase decisions, from cars to electricity generation. The 2015 presentation is more optimistic, but still sobering. Watch here.

[Insights] O.M.G. Sea Level Rise - NASA’s O.M.G. (Oceans Melting Greenland) project is just one effort that seeks to understand whether sea level rise will proceed more quickly or more slowly. The NYTimes explores why it remains hard to answer.

[Insights] The Politics of Tech - As tech generates more wealth and influence, there is a strong desire to solve some of the problems that governments have historically been asked to solve - with or without the help of government. Survey results

[Insights] No IPO for you? Chip Hazard at Flybridge takes a look at the most likely path to liquidity for most successful founders - M&A. When we see the growing corporate interest in Urbantech, we suspect that this may be even more relevant in areas ranging from cleantech to govtech. See the analysis.

[Insights] The Cook & The Chef - Many great startups are built around a secret - something that nobody else understands or sees, often because they haven’t asked why. This essay asks what happens if you start to ask why more frequently.

[News] 2015 BigApps Finalists - We’re working with five of the top 20 teams and hope to introduce a few of them here soon. Meet the 20 finalists.

[Founder News] Autodesk’s recent investment in Skycatch demonstrates how quickly we’re putting robots to work in “reality capture,” enabling us to create ever-better digital representations of the world. More on Skycatch and Autodesk.

[Founder News] HandUp was recently named as one of Stuff.tv’s 25 Most Exciting Ideas in Tech.

[Jobs] Urban.Us portfolios companies are looking for developers (full stack, iOS, Android), product managers, designers, data scientists and sales people (Government, Enterprise Software). Details.

We’re thankful that you take the time to read and respond and connect us with new people and ideas. It helps to keep us honest, inspires us, and makes us smarter.

Thank you,
Shaun, Stonly & Anthony
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