“Startup the $h!t out of city problems” - Urban.Us team (with apologies to The Martian)
Two years ago we incorporated Urban Us Public Benefit Corporation. Last week, we made our 19th investment as part of our second fund. Our goal remains to fund and support startups that can positively impact 100 cities within 5 years. We’re looking for startups that can grow fast.
There are many proxies for growth, but we like Mattermark scores as a way to understand relative company growth rates. By Mattermark’s calculations, two thirds of the companies we work with are classified as “high growth”. To provide some context, if you poke around on Mattermark, some of the best early stage portfolios have about half of their portfolio growing quickly.
We’re very excited about how our founders are progressing mainly because this type of growth will attract more investors to urbantech opportunities. But we know that urbantech opportunities can still be scary. They might involve procurement or hardware or require navigation of regulated industries. So we’re excited to share what we’ve learned about how to Startup the $h!t out of city problems.
[Startup Candidate] Gridcure - is helping utility companies make sense of the massive amounts of data they’re collecting. We think this might offer opportunities for very large scale efficiencies.
[Startup Candidate] Village Defense - provides a simple way to connect and share real-time information with your neighbors. Their focus? Safety.
[New Investment] Oneconcern - uses AI to transform how we respond to natural disasters. Here is a bit about them in New Scientists but the team’s main wish is that we let everyone know that Oneconcern is hiring.
[Insights] Age of the Cockroach - Caterina Fake has been through a few startup fundraising cycles. She offers some great perspective on thriving in a more difficult fundraising environment.
[Opportunity] National League of Cities Event - The 2015 Congress of Cities in Nashville offers startups a chance to showcase at Innovation Central and get access to the largest audience of city leaders in one location.
[Insights] Internet of Law Enforcement Things - VW’s design of cars that actively cheat on tests raises interesting questions about how we will regulate robots in a world designed to regulate humans. Learn more here.
[Insights] Building Tomorrow - Architizer teamed up with PSFK to explore the key trends like urbanization, connectivity and energy efficiency are driving new building designs.
[Founder Updates] BRCK, Seamlessdocs, Mark43 - the BRCK team announced their latest offering and it’s a great understatement to say it was well received. Mark43 and Seamlessdocs were both recognized with Technology Awards at the Code for America Summit.
One of our favorite parts about Urban.Us is this email. It forces us to reflect on what we’re seeing and learning and it often results in amazing responses. Sometimes we’ve been introduced to new founders and other times we get a few words of encouragement. We’re very grateful for your time and support.
Shaun, Stonly and Anthony.
P.S. We’re not just captivated by a single catchphrase. “The Martian” really is a fantastic film.