Urbantech opens applications for sustainable city-tech startups


Urbantech opens applications for sustainable city-tech startups

70% of global CO2 emissions stem from cities – International accelerator Urbantech is looking for its second cohort of B2B startups. The accelerator doesn’t take equity and is looking for growth-stage companies building organizations with purpose, ready to partner with corporates – especially in the sustainability space. 

COPENHAGEN (FEB 18, 2020) Climate change is real, and sustainability is non-negotiable to the next generation of forward-looking startups. The Urbantech accelerator is looking for its next cohort, helping accelerate the development of sustainable cities and urban environments. 

Urbantech is the collective term for the program’s focus on digital solutions to make construction more effective, buildings and power systems more flexible, and public spaces more multifunctional. And help cities emit less CO2. In short, tech that makes cities better for the humans that live in them.

The program is a high-energy, three-month onsite program. Unlike other accelerators, the end-goal is to create practical pilot programs between startups and partners – which often blossom into longer-term business relationships. The accelerator helps its startups grow and find product/market fit. 

“Urbantech for our business has been able to really accelerate our work. It really ramped things up, enabled us to condense a year’s worth of work into three months. That would not have been possible without Urbantech, hands down.” says Daniel Emmett CEO NEXT Energy Technologies Inc., one of the companies that traveled to Copenhagen from California to be part of the first Urbantech cohort.

The time unit of startups may be hours and days – but cities move at a different pace. Decisions around buildings and urban planning have impacts that stretch decades – if not hundreds of years – into the future. Backed by industry leaders and purpose-driven foundations, startups participating in the Urbantech accelerator program get an opportunity to take a collaborative approach to explore enterprise-scale challenges.

“The Urbantech Program is built around the idea that in order to have an impact on the world, startups need to integrate deeply into their ecosystems to be successful. We do that by working closely with some of the biggest built-environment partners in Europe. Startups in our accelerator program have access to top executives and some of the sharpest minds in this industry. We invite them to work collaboratively to make a lasting impact,” says Michael Ambjørn, Managing Director at Urbantech. “The truth is that you cannot solve the big challenges facing humanity by thinking in weeks or months. Your time horizon should be years and decades – and partnering with companies who have their eyes on the more distant future is a powerful way to do that. Creating connection, unleashing entrepreneurs – and getting exciting ideas into action.”

Running a purpose-driven accelerator is closely interwoven with the Danish tradition of putting people at the center of urban development. The purpose of Urbantech is to connect Danish strengths in architecture, design, and city planning with international expertise, technological innovation, and business development. Why Denmark? The country is the perfect gateway to the Nordic and wider European markets. The World Bank ranks Denmark as the easiest place to do business in Europe, and the country has a proven commitment to sustainability. For example, Denmark has the highest proportion of wind power per capita, producing almost half of its energy needs from thin air. Of course, it doesn’t harm that Denmark is also one of the happiest countries in the world, according to the World Happiness Index. 

“We hadn’t quite realised how easy it is to do business in Denmark. We had strategic 1:1 time with partner CEOs – and people are deeply sustainability focused. This was very exciting for us. Urbantech was a real door opener” Julia Gebert, CEO of accelerator participant RYSTA, said. “Needless to say this also accelerated our fundraising. If you get the chance, go.” 

Urbantech is looking for its next cohort of ten growth-stage startups – to apply, see urbantechprogram.io/


For more information, contact: Michael Ambjorn, Managing Director at Urbantech, on mam@rainmaking.io or +45 53841027. Previous accelerator participants can be made available for interview on request. 


Download all our print-quality images and logos on our main press page here: urbantechprogram.io/press - Or connect to the Urbantech Image Reposity on Dropbox.

Here’s a quick preview of some of them (the images on Dropbox have captions):


Additional Startup CEO Quotes

Christian de Santos, CEO SAALG: “To have the CEOs of our corporate partners in the first line during our presentation was great. The difference is having the right people at the right spot and that’s what Urbantech put on the table.”

Yash Kulkarni, CTO OrxaGrid: “To be part of this program has been exhilarating. I really want to take everything I’ve learned today and take it to the next stage.”

Urbantech Background Information 

Urbantech is a non-equity, pilot-focused innovation program founded in Denmark in 2019. The program works in tailored processes with growth-stage startups creating solutions in urban technology. It is currently sourcing its second cohort of startups. 

The Urbantech program will be held over three years, and will accept 10 startups from the urbantech industry each year. On acceptance, the startups will attend a three-month accelerator followed by an alumni program.

By collaborating with the program’s corporate partners, Urbantech’s startups will be able to develop their businesses. The aim is to also help them hire more employees and increase their revenue, while the corporate partners will gain access to new innovation and knowledge that can help their growth on the Nordic, European and international markets. 

The program will primarily be hosted at the ?interdisciplinary innovation hub and co-working space BLOXHUB at BLOX in Copenhagen. In addition to BLOXHUB, the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) and Danish Design Center (DDC) will contribute to Urbantech. Through events open to everyone, DAC will share learnings and knowledge to interested parties not involved in the program. DDC will, through their expertise in design-focused innovation, support the startups participating in the program. And Amazon Web Services will provide startups with $100,000 in AWS Promotional Credit and business support for 1 year.

Rainmaking (rainmaking.io) runs and facilitates the program. Rainmaking has extensive experience with similar accelerator programs both globally and nationally, as well as with other international urban tech- and smart city programs. 

The Urbantech program will conclude in a demo day, where the participating startups present their solutions in front of an exclusive audience including Danish and international investors and venture capital funds.

All growth-stage startups can apply to participate in Urbantech. The application deadline is April 26th 2020. Urbantech 2020 will take place from August till November.

Urbantech is financed by COWI, VKR Holding, EWII and supported by Realdania and The Danish Industry Foundation.

2020 Milestones

  • 2020 Launch: February 18 
  • Application Deadline: April 26
  • Selection Days: June 2-4 
  • Accelerator start: August 17
  • 2020 Demo Day: November 5 

Urbantech Program Partners


Realdania is a philanthropic association with approximately 155,000 members. The 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

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 includes 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