Supplying both was the idea behind Urban-X, created jointly by BMW’s Mini division and Urban Us, a venture capital to focus on improving metropolitan life.
Urban-X is an urban tech startup accelerator that invests up to $100,000 in up to 10 companies every six months with the goal of trying to create services that will will benefit city dwellers.
Brooklyn-based Urban-X says it provides mentors who, for 20 weeks, can advise on issues like customer and product development, network-building and guidance to help the companies prepare for further fundraising efforts.
Urban-X’s mission fits with its core audience of young entrepreneurs and professionals who primarily live in congested cities, prime targets for its small, fun, maneuverable cars, company officials say.
“Mini has always been a quintessentially urban brand,” said Micah Kotch, the managing director for Mini and he managing director for Urban-X. He said the goal at Urban-X “is to help start-ups reimagine city life.
RoadBotics CEO Mark DeSantis said he was attracted to Urban-X because it offered contacts, support and access to other companies, not just funding. He wanted investors “who could do more for us than just give us capital.”
The hydroponics units provide seeds, LED lights and everything else to grow herbs or vegetables in a modest apartment or a restaurant kitchen.
Small companies working with Urban-X say that the program’s focus on cities makes all the difference.