Eight of the world’s most promising, newly started and innovative technology companies have just been selected for the Nordic accelerator program Urbantech. After last year’s successful program, a new cohort of startups will help to accelerate the development of new solutions for the sustainable cities of tomorrow.
According to the UN, up to 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. This creates major challenges and calls for new innovative and digital solutions that can push construction and urban development in a more efficient and sustainable direction.
Now, 8 startups selected from across the globe will help to turbo-charge the development of tech-based solutions for future sustainable cities – in the Nordics, and around the world.
This is done through Urbantech – an innovation program for the world’s most promising and innovative technology startups. Three Danish corporates, COWI, VKR Holding / VELUX and EWII are behind the initiative with support from the philanthropic organisations Realdania and the Danish Industry Foundation.
In the Urbantech program the 8 startups get the opportunity to scale and grow their solutions through an intense and tailored acceleration process.
“Urbantech is more than just creating new, exciting technical solutions for the cities. We are looking for answers and solutions to major societal challenges. Solutions that can help cities in the climate fight and with the resource challenges, but also in creating more health and security. Often new solutions come in the meeting between small and large companies, where new thinking is combined with market access and scaling, which is precisely the model in Urbantech,” says Nina Kovsted Helk, director of philanthropy at Realdania.
Through Urbantech, the startups team up with the three Danish companies COWI, VKR Holding / VELUX and EWII. They will help the selected entrepreneurs to further develop their technology and businesses. The innovative approaches coming into play range from advanced materials (e.g. Solartes and WattGlass), innovative uses of sensors (e.g. Breeze Technologies, CLIMAID and Linc) to new ways managing projects and assets in the urban space (CAALA and VisiLean) and gaining strategic insights from data flows (e.g. InfoTiles). Technology with a potential to be applied at scale, yielding significant sustainability gains for cities across the world.
“Urbantech is here to attract innovative products, creative companies and talented people to Denmark. In this way, an even stronger Danish ecosystem is built within urban solutions. It will benefit the established companies in the sector, but also the entrepreneurs who in the future will spark new innovation at the intersection of technology, sustainability and construction,” says Thomas Hofman-Bang, CEO of the Danish Industry Foundation.
Urbantech creates business results
This is the second time Urbantech has run as a program. During the first round, in 2019, the outcome was a range of pilot successes. These include transparent solar cells applied in new ways, sensors for improving the indoor climate and sensor-based technology that minimizes geotechnical uncertainties on megaprojects. And for many startups, the collaboration provided a boost to their commercial development.
The business partners also see a business gain from the collaboration:
“Tomorrow’s winners are the digital frontrunners. Both for small and large businesses. And there is no doubt that the development environments that exist around startups are hugely inspiring for COWI; as a company, we gain insight into new technologies – also outside our own industry – and we are tested on our agility and creativity. Last year’s program demonstrated how much both parties can learn from each other in relation to creating innovative solutions that are both commercially and environmentally sustainable, ”says Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO of COWI.
“We look forward to this year’s team of innovative companies with ideas for sustainable development of the cities of the future. Our experience from the first year is that this type of collaboration enriches both parties. Urbantech is also an important source of inspiration for our portfolio businesses – including product development in VELUX,” says Mads Kann-Rasmussen, CEO of VKR Holding.
“We expect a lot from the Urbantech program, because we have already seen that it can make a significant contribution to our strategic development. The entrepreneurs bring both perspective and agility to the table, and in a good interaction with us we can create something that no one had thought of before. It is about sustainable, digital development of our cities, and here there is a huge potential – for example in the form of buildings that can be used for energy storage or cold stores that can be digitized. It is completely relevant in relation to the green transition, and there is plenty to address,” says Lars Bonderup Bjørn, CEO of EWII.
Facts – More about Urbantech
The Urbantech program runs for a total of three years and each year a set of startups from the urban tech field are invited into a three-month acceleration program with a subsequent alumni program. Both Danish and International technology startups can apply.
This is the second time the program runs. The first time was in the summer of 2019. BLOXHUB will be the unifying venue for all physical events, but due to COVID-19, large parts of the program in 2020 will be held virtually.
The purpose of Urbantech is to link Danish strengths in architecture, design and urban development with international expertise, technological innovation and business development.
Urbantech was founded by COWI, VKR Holding / VELUX and EWII, which all invest both time, talent and resources into the program. Urbantech is also supported by the philanthropic organisations Realdania and the Danish Industry Foundation.
The program is powered by Rainmaking in collaboration with BLOXHUB, the Danish Design Centre, the Danish Architecture Center and Amazon Web Services. Rainmaking operates and facilitates the program.
Read more at urbantechprogram.io
The 2020 Urbantech Startups
Urbantech Pilot Partners: VKR / VELUX & COWI
Breeze Technologies is a technology leader for air quality sensors, data, and analytics. The startup provides hyperlocal air quality and climate data to help cities and corporates design more efficient clean air action plans with artificial intelligence and the internet of things.
Press Contact: CEO Robert Heinecke, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urbantech Pilot Partners: VKR / VELUX & COWI
CAALA provides a digital platform for project developers, portfolio managers, and architects for energy-efficient and climate-neutral building designs. The digital toolset enables decision-makers to optimize the environmental and economic life-cycle performance of new buildings and renovation project and thereby play a crucial role in decarbonizing the construction and real estate industry.
Press Contact: CEO Philipp Hollberg, email@example.com
Urbantech Pilot Partners: EWII & VELUX
CLIMAID collects indoor climate data and qualitative user feedback and processes the information to deliver better living environments adapted to real-time user needs – and last but not least lower energy and maintenance costs for a more sustainable performance throughout its total lifetime.
Press Contact: CEO Kenneth Holck Jakobsen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urbantech Pilot Partners: COWI & EWII
InfoTiles provides an award-winning solution that streams data across sensors, maintenance systems, open data sources and more, allowing continuous real-time analysis and modelling. This enables you to act on the information generated by the city and utilities with analytics and predictions, ultimately enabling smarter and more sustainable cities.
Press Contact: CEO Johnny Alexander Gunneng, email@example.com
Urbantech Pilot Partners: EWII & VELUX
Linc is a digital infrastructure for sustainable buildings and cities. Through the development of cloud-connected hardware, Linc enables detailed monitoring and control of energy and other building parameters. Facility managers, energy consultants, and electric utilities are enabled to optimise resource consumption with simple tools by diagnosing inefficiencies, pin-pointing maintenance problems, and maximising utilisation of clean renewables.
Press Contact: CEO Pranay Krishen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urbantech Pilot Partners: VELUX & EWII
Solartes is developing smart windows that automatically regulate the indoor climate and reduce energy loss. Achieved through their unique smart material that harvests and stores solar energy during the day and releases the energy as heat during the night.
Press Contact: CEO Anna Hofmann, email@example.com
Urbantech Pilot Partner: COWI
Visilean is a construction management service in the cloud which enables more efficient planning and tracking of construction projects. It provides contractors, clients, and supervisors a real-time accurate view of current project status.
Press Contact: CEO Bhargav Dave, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urbantech Pilot Partners: VELUX
WattGlass provides innovative and sustainable coating solutions for glass and other substrates used in manufacturing processes. By replacing hazardous materials, we offer a cleaner and safer production environment with reduced operating costs. WattGlass’s coatings are completely water-based and utilize commercially scalable processes to deliver functional surfaces at an industrial scale.
Press Contact: CEO Corey Thompson, email@example.com
Realdania is a philanthropic association with approximately 155,000 members. Our mission is to improve the quality of life by improving the built environment – the physical surroundings of our everyday life. Realdania has since year 2000 supported more than 3,350 projects with more than 18 billion DKK. Learn more: realdania.dk
The Danish Industry Foundation
The Danish Industry Foundation is a philanthropic foundation working towards strengthening the competitiveness of the Danish industry. This is done within areas like internationalization, innovation, development of competences, the evolution and utilization of new knowledge, and implementation of new technology. Learn more: industriensfond.dk
COWI is a leading consulting group that creates value for customers, people and society through our unique 360° approach. With world-class experts within engineering, environment and economy we take on these challenges from many different angles in order to create more coherent solutions for our customers. Learn more: cowi.dk
VKR Holding A/S is a holding and investment company. We create value through investments and ownership of companies that develop, produce and market products useful to society. Our products bring daylight, fresh air and a better environment into people’s everyday lives. VKR Holding is the parent company in the VKR Group, which include business areas like roof windows & skylights (ex. VELUX), vertical windows and doors (ex. VELFAC & Rationel), as well as thermal solar energy (Arcon-Sunmark). Learn more: vkr-holding.com
The EWII Group is the Triangle Region’s local energy company. The EWII Group is helping shape the future of the energy industry and plays a central role in the development of the intelligent solutions and sustainable energy technologies of the future. Through energy, we will create the society of tomorrow. We make responsible and visionary investments in the development of our society. Learn more: ewii.com
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Marketing Lead, Rainmaking
+45 53 55 29 56
Press Advisor, Realdania
+45 26 77 40 86
Head of Communications, Industriens Fond
+45 33 37 62 08
Head of Press, COWI
+45 56 40 19 89
Director, Global Media Relations, VKR Holding/VELUX
+ 45 45 16 48 72
Anya Wang Palm
Head of PR and Press, EWII
+45 51 15 25 55