Urban tech passes 100 unicorn milestone, but funding momentum has eased
By: Amy Li
As the UN’s climate conference COP27 takes place in Sharm El Sheikh, we have released a new report with Dealroom exploring the state of Urban Tech innovation and entrepreneurship. Download the report here.
We are on a “highway to climate hell”, warned by UN secretary general at the start of COP27.
Climate risk is accelerating and cities are exposed to them. There is an increasing need to shift focus from climate mitigation to adaptation. Urban technologies can support us rethinking and renovating our ways of building and living in cities.
Funding for urban tech startups stutters
Urban tech startups have collectively raised $28B in 2022 to date. While this is already more than was raised in the full year of 2020 (or any year prior), it is projected to fall short of last year’s total by 23%. This is against a backdrop of a broad pullback in venture capital investment in every sector amid a global economic downturn, but this loss of momentum is nonetheless a blow to net-zero targets.
Despite a considerable drop in corporate participation, heavy industry giants, such as Cemex and Honeywell, continue to be active urban tech investors.
Urban tech passes 100 unicorn milestone
Globally, the Urban Tech ecosystem has now produced over 100 unicorns — startups valued at over $1 billion — with the vast majority emerging within Clean energy and grid technology, and Urban mobility and logistics.
Scaled success in other categories has been ramping up in the last two years, however we are still a long way from meeting the first “gigacorn”. 2022 saw 2 urban tech unicorns emerge within ESG & carbon tracking, as well as the first new unicorn in building efficiency since 2015. Buildings take up 37% of global CO2 emissions, so this is an important shift.
Many high impact niches remain underfunded
We can not fight climate change without protecting biodiversity. Although biodiversity has ramped up as a key topic in the ESG space, it remains as one of the least-targeted areas by investors.
Urban flooding caused an estimated $440B in damage in the decade to 2020. Less than 0.2% of that amount has been invested in flood prevention, monitoring and response startups in all time. While investment has been ramping up in the last two years (over $200M was raised in 2021, and a similar total projected for 2022), these numbers are still tiny compared to the size of the challenges they’re addressing, and indeed the size of the potential market opportunity.
Interested in learning more? Join our online panel discussion!
Registration link: https://hopin.com/events/dealroom-talks-the-rise-of-urban-tech/registration
2150 is a venture capital firm investing in technology companies that seek to sustainably reimagine and reshape the urban environment. 2150’s investment thesis focuses on major unsolved problems across what it calls the ‘Urban Stack’, which comprises every element of the built environment, from the way our cities are designed, constructed and powered, to the way people live, work and are cared for. Find out more at www.2150.vc