Frequently Asked Questions in URBAN-X Applications

Frequently Asked Questions in URBAN-X Applications

We’ve seen hundreds of great startups express interest in URBAN-X this summer. A number of them have shared questions about the program. We’re sharing some of the most frequently asked questions here.


How many prior cohorts have gone through the program?

We’re currently working on Cohort 03. However, our teams have worked with nearly 50 startups focused on urbantech over the last 4 years.  While the program is relatively new, it builds on deep experience at the intersection of startups and cities.

What are some of the startups who have found success during or after the program?

Urban Us portfolio companies can be found here. Companies from past programs can be found here.

What amount of equity does URBAN-X take in exchange for $100,000 in funding?

It varies depending on a number of factors including your stage of product development, whether or not you’ve built a startup before, etc. For example some teams entering the program have prototypes and others are already selling products to customers. Some teams have already raised capital, while others have not. We consider all of these factors before proposing terms.

How is the URBAN-X program structured?

The program is structured around two core activities – office hours and sessions. Office hours involve weekly updates with the URBAN-X team. The curriculum is customized depending on the needs of your company and team and the goal is to help with specific adjustments for your team. Companies can expect to learn and participate in sessions about fundraising, legal and accounting, business models, customers, sales, and scalability with specific urbantech topics such as working with local governments or funding hardware companies. The curriculum builds on work we’ve been doing with the National Science Foundation’s iCorps program and The University of Chicago Booth School.

What is the affiliation with MINI?

URBAN-X is part of the MINI’s evolving portfolio of projects that seek to improve urban life. We were founded with a mandate to explore possibilities for the future of cities. As an advocate for urbanism and the future of cities, MINI has always embraced innovation. By supporting companies across concentrations that share our broad creative vision, we work to create a cohesive, interdisciplinary urban experience.

What are the traits/criteria you look for before making an offer?

We evaluate each applicant by the amount of impact the company will have, who is on the team and what experiences they have, the company’s approach to urban problems, the type and amount of competition the company will face, and how much risk is associated with their ideas.

Does URBAN-X help with introductions to investors and customers?

We’ve built an extensive network of investors, founders and customers in core urbantech industries like urban living, mobility, food, water, waste, smart governance, IoT, security, and energy. Our network has knowledge in B2G, B2B and B2C.

To date, this numbers over 1,600 people primarily located in the US and EU with the largest groups in New York and the Bay Area.

Throughout the program and after, our goal is to connect you to this network. Over the last four years, these introductions have led to investments, pilots project, new customers and new hires.

What is the timeline?

Applications close on July 21 and Cohort 03 starts on September 18. Companies will hear back by mid August. Each cohort runs for 5 months.

Do you need to be on site in Brooklyn to be eligible?

We provide office space and access to extensive resources during the program’s duration. Many of the introductions we make, especially investors, are people in New York. We also want to ensure that teams are dedicated to building their companies full time. It’s our preference that at least one member of the team can participate in person for most of the program. We will consider remote teams that may join us for targeted meetings, but work remotely, on a case by case basis.

Do you invest in or provide introductions to startups outside of your accelerator program?

Sometimes we meet teams that are too far along for the URBAN-X program. In these cases we may consider them for investments via other funds such as BMW iVentures or Urban Us Venture Fund. Unfortunately if we are not investors in a company, it is difficult to make introductions, especially to other investors. Most investors will wonder why we are making an introduction if we were not interested in investing.

Will it be a problem that we’re currently structured as a nonprofit?

We don’t currently have a way to work with nonprofits, but we’d be happy to explore other incorporation options. Sometimes Public Benefit Corporations can achieve similar objectives.

Can I refer a startup?

Yes. Please send them this URL:

We’re accepting applications for the next cohort until July 21. We will select up to 10 of the most promising companies to join us for Cohort 3.