Both the developed and developing worlds have been undergoing massive amounts of urbanization over the last century, and that trend is expected to continue for the next several decades. It’s believed that 86% of the developed world and 64% of the developing world will be urbanized by 2050, and while there are plenty of benefits to living in dense urban areas, having so many people living so close together creates a number of problems, ranging from massive amounts of pollution to the over-consumption of resources. Fortunately, there are plenty of startups that want to help solve these problems, and a venture fund by the name of Urban.us has raised an additional $10 million to invest into these startups.
Venture fund Urban.us is gearing up to close a $10 million fund to continue investing in startups focused on impacting urban city living across mobility and logistics, environment, utilities and local government. Urban.us expects to close the fund later this year, but it has already committed some of that money to smart irrigation startup Rachio, FutureMotion, the maker of electric board OneWheel, and connected heating and cooling systems startup Flair. Urban.us’s first fund was $1.3 million, which it divvied up amongst 20 startups relatively equally. Other startups in Urban.us’s portfolio include HandUp, BRCK, dash, Revivn and Skycatch. The goal of the first fund was to help get companies from the pre-seed to Series A round. With Urban.us’s second fund, the idea is to provide follow-on investments to the some of the companies that have shown growth and achieved measurable public benefits. “We believe climate change is the biggest challenge we’re going to face as a society,” Urban.us co-founder Stonly Baptiste told TechCrunch. “And we see cities as one of the key mechanisms for efficiency to impact what that trajectory looks like.” Cities account for roughly 70% of greenhouse gas emissions across the world, according to the United Nations-Habitat, the UN’s program for urban development. By 2050, urban populations are expected to double and therefore increase the overall gas emissions coming from cities. That’s why Urban.us invests in companies that have the potential to rapidly scale and positively impact approximately 100 cities within five years.