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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.


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.


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.


The 2020 Urbantech Startups

Breeze Technologies
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.