Today, we’re excited to announce the close of Urban Innovation Fund I, a $22.5M seed fund to invest in startups shaping the future of cities. The fund provides seed capital and regulatory support to entrepreneurs tackling our toughest urban problems — helping them grow into tomorrow’s most valued companies.
With 81% of Americans living in cities, and two-thirds of the world’s population urbanizing by 2050, there are a growing number of challenges facing urban dwellers. This unprecedented urbanization is giving rise to startups transforming the lives of millions of city dwellers — in sectors like transportation, real estate, and the future of work. These startups often face significant regulatory and political push-back. We believe that, in this new era, startup innovation will require regulatory savvy.
Through Fund I, we have already invested in 14 startups and had an exit when portfolio startup Valor Water Analytics was acquired by publicly traded water company Xylem in early 2018.
We’re proud that the Urban Innovation Fund is 100% female owned and operated. Our Managing Partners — Clara Brenner and Julie Lein — started investing together five years ago after co-founding urban ventures accelerator Tumml in 2013. Our past investments include Chariot (a shuttle bus service acquired by Ford Motor Company in 2016) and Neighborly (a crowd-investing platform for municipal bonds that most recently raised a $25M Series A). We’re joined by Senior Associate May Samali — a corporate lawyer by training who has been supporting entrepreneurs since her time managing the Tumml accelerator.
Additionally, we are proud of the current diversity within the Urban Innovation Fund portfolio leadership — 71% of our startups have a woman or person of color on the founding team. To see the full list of verticals where the Urban Innovation Fund invests, check out www.urbaninnovationfund.com and, if you’re an early stage founder, we’d love to hear from you.