Following a global search for urban tech startups, ten promising and innovative technology companies have just been selected for the Nordic accelerator program Urbantech. Like their 2019 and 2020 predecessors in the program, this new Cohort of startups is set to accelerate the development of 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, the 10 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 10 startups get the opportunity to scale and grow their solutions through an intense and tailored acceleration process.
“Both Danish and international urban developers are crying out for innovative and sustainable solutions, and many are looking in the direction of Denmark because we have a strong reputation in sustainable urban development. And with good reason. The level among the selected in this year’s Urbantech is very high – both among the international and the Danish startups. In the three years we have been running Urbantech, the Danish applicants in the pile have just gotten better and better. It bodes well for the industry,” says Nina Kovsted Helk, Philanthropy Director at Realdania.
Green urban mobility and new approaches to sound
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, innovative uses of sensors to new ways of managing projects and assets in the urban space and gaining strategic insights from data flows. Technology with a potential to be applied at scale, yielding significant sustainability gains for cities across the world.
“Urbantech contributes to a stronger Danish ecosystem within green and smart urban solutions. It happens through attracting lots of innovative products, creative companies and talent to Denmark. As something special, it is worth emphasizing that in the 2021 edition of Urbantech, four Danish start-ups have succeeded in becoming among the ten selected for the program despite fierce competition from more than 140 other companies in 40 countries,” says Thomas Hofman-Bang, CEO of The Danish Industry Foundation.
Urbantech creates business results for all in involved
This is the third time Urbantech has run as a program, producing dozens of successful pilots – and many onward collaborations. These include transparent solar cells applied in new ways, sensors for improving the indoor climate and new ways to map information at the scale of cities. And for many startups, the collaboration provided a boost to their commercial development. It also helped many of them raise additional investment, essential to scaling their solutions.
The business partners also see a business gain from the collaboration:
“To create more liveable and sustainable cities, and succeed in the green transition, we need data and new technology. At the same time, COVID-19 has not only emphasised that the future is digital, while demonstrating that we can change much more, and faster, than anticipated. To that end, Urbantech is more important than ever: It provides a unique platform for COWI to work with, and learn from, some of the world’s most promising tech start-ups, joining forces to accelerate the development of pioneering urban 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 years 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.
“Relevant and ambitious! There is no better way to describe what I have experienced with the many startups that have been in the Urbantech program. Every single year, and again this year, I have been overwhelmed by the spark and the commitment that is being brought to light. I am inspired by meeting startups that I did not really think were obvious to us, and then discovering a new world with them – a world that makes me see new opportunities in my own organisation,” 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 third 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 2021 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, and Amazon Web Services. Microsoft and IBM. Rainmaking operates and facilitates the program.
Read more at urbantechprogram.io
The 2021 Urbantech Startups
Urbantech Pilot Partner: COWI
Cogo gathers shared rides for frictionless mobility and a better tomorrow. Cogo is an app gathering all shared scooters, bikes, cars and mopeds as long as they are human or electric powered. They currently include over 160 different operators in 500 cities worldwide capturing valuable data across multiple vehicle types and various user needs.
Press Contact: Robin Eriksson
Urbantech Pilot Partner: VKR / VELUX
DeNoize combines years of experience with cutting edge technology, through the world’s first smart glass system that trans- forms any glass facade into a noise-cancelling system, offering up to 90% reduction against the outdoor noise.
Press Contact: Aman Jindal
Urbantech Pilot Partner: EWII
Eliq offers utilities a SaaS platform that allows them to build strong relationships and grow non-commodity revenue with customers. The solution offers end-customers a mobile and web app, which helps them control their energy consumption and buy and access new services from their utility. Utilities gain stronger relationships with their customers, increasing customer loyalty and driving a strong uptake in new energy technologies.
Press Contact: Thijs van Eijk
Excess Materials Exchange
Urbantech Pilot Partners: COWI, EWII, VKR / VELUX
Excess Materials Exchange is a B2B SaaS platform. The platform unlocks the potential of the world’s excess materials and products by matching them to their highest value uses. The platform quantifies the required financial, environmental and social data as well as shows the ROI of high value reuse for organisations to make data-driven decisions. We leverage technologies like AI, blockchain and machine learning to scale circular solutions and speed-up the world’s transition to a circular economy.
Press Contact: Christian van Maaren
Urbantech Pilot Partners: EWII
The FlexShape platform of smart energy applications and tools, helps energy communities, big and small, to utilize available energy flexibility (in time, amount, and type of energy) to balance green energy production with consumption and save CO2, energy costs, and grid reinforcement.
Press Contact: Laurynas Šikšnys
Urbantech Pilot Partners: VKR / VELUX
Kobots develops collaborative, mobile, voice-responsive robots that help and support workers, initially in the construction industry. We want to be part of a positive change through the development of intelligent tools for the craftsman that provide a better working environment, fewer physical disabilities, fewer work-related illnesses.
Press Contact: Christina Grigoriou Dalsgaard
Urbantech Pilot Partners: VKR / VELUX
Miru is commercializing electrochromic windows (“smart glass”) with disruptively low manufacturing costs for the residential, and commercial real estate market. Smart glass permits adjustable tinting between clear and dark states with the push of a button, which enables users to control window tint through automated means. Miru intends to offer the first affordable electrochromic smart window to unlock untapped market opportunities.
Press Contact: Curtis Berlinguette
Urbantech Pilot Partners: COWI, VKR / VELUX
Parametric Solutions provides technology-driven and intelligent solutions for early stage design processes. We offer a cloud-based platform that helps property developers and architects make informed decisions and create better urban environments. Instead of designing one option manually we generate a multitude of design alternatives – all with unique challenges and possibilities. Thereby, we create a more information-driven and democratic decision that visualizes the consequences of decisions already in the planning phase.
Press Contact: Sofia Malmsten
Urbantech Pilot Partner: COWI
Treble is developing a new cloud-based software product for dealing with sound and acoustics in the built environment. The software builds on a simulation engine that models the acous- tics of spaces. In addition to improved accuracy the tool offers a highly efficient workflow by integrating into industry standard 3D modelling software. Our Virtual Acoustics feature couples highly realistic simulated sound with interactive 3D models.
Press Contact: Finnur Pind
Urbantech Pilot Partners: COWI
Woodsense developed an IoT solution to monitor timber struc- tures during the entire construction process to improve quality assurance and catch damages as they emerge.
Press Contact: Jeppe Rasmussen
Realdania is a philanthropic association with approximately 170,000 members. Realdania’s mission is to improve the quality of life by improving the built environment – the physical surroundings of the everyday life. Realdania has since year 2000 supported more than 4,300 projects with more than 20,7 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. Based on our world-class competencies within engineering, economics and environmental science, we tackle challenges from many vantage points to create coherent solutions for our customers – and thereby sustainable and coherent societies in the world. Learn more at cowi.com.
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) and vertical windows and doors (ex. VELFAC & Rationel). 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
Josefine Koch Jürgensen
Press and Communications Advisor, COWI
+45 30 26 06 67
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