Three reasons we need to upgrade cities to fight climate change.
Electrifying and core city sectors like transportation and buildings are central to decarbonization.
Cities are home to most of the at-risk people and assets, so we need new ways to manage climate risks.
Higher density communities mean lower per capita costs for everything from fire fighting services to power lines. High density lifestyles are beset by challenges like affordable housing, public health, and traffic congestion.
We founded Urban Us in 2013 because we concluded that startups would play an outsized role in re-imagining the core sectors used to design, build, and operate cities.
Our earliest investments are leading the way in areas like electrification of mobility, high performance building design, resilient food supplies and natural hazard risk.
Why do founders choose us?
First and best-aligned partner
Urban Us usually makes the first institutional investment in a startup. Often, the startup does not have their first paying customer. For that reason, we get to build unique relationships with founders. First, we are well aligned – we want them to be capital-efficient to avoid dilution. Second, we get to play a trusted advisory role as startups make critical decisions about partners, fundraising, and geographic expansion. It is easy to make promises, but we try our best to deliver. In 2020, Urban Us partners took two of eleven top spots on a list of nearly 400 investors, “The VCs who founders love the most.”
Diverse, relevant experience
The Urban Us platform is managed by a team of 12 people. Before working together, we founded and sold technology companies and invested across all stages from pre-seed to growth, working with both equity and debt. The team has previously worked at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, First Round Capital, BMW Group, NYSERDA, and Roosevelt Institute. Our team members have graduate degrees from Harvard, MIT, Georgia Tech, UPenn, and NYU.
Aligned and supportive partners
Beyond our core team, we have corporate partners who offer startups access and domain expertise, such as MINI (BMW Group), Takenaka Corporation (construction and real estate in Japan), and Gerdau (industrial globally), as well as limited partners from KKR, NEA, Nvidia, Uber, Salesforce, and Alphabet.