Institute Insights

Industry Deep Dive: Urban Tech

In the fall of 2017, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute launched the Innovation Venture Fund Fellows program. This talented cohort of student investment partners and researchers have been working with venture investors and entrepreneurs to publish industry deep-dive research reports. The first of these reports covers Urban Innovation and Technology and has been spearheaded by Stern Senior and entrepreneur, Kyra Durko.  We will continue to publish these papers in the future and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the topics as well! 

Read the full white paper on Urban Tech!

Industry Deep Dive: Urban Tech

By Kyra Durko & Kunal Mehta

There are so few technology sectors that we can truly say will affect each and every one of our daily lives in the coming years. Will everyone use the latest and greatest SaaS product, or messenger bot, or play the newest VR game? Probably not. However, in a country where 83% of the population lives in urban areas and travel to and from urban areas is easier than ever, there is one sector that actually could affect everyone’s daily life. Urban Tech.

Urban technology has been addressing these challenges for centuries. Think about some of the earliest innovations that made living in urban communities possible at all - sewage systems (500 BC), elevators (1853), and the NYC subway (1904). These are all pretty boring necessities that we don’t think about it. Until, of course, a building explodes because a gas main was 127 years old (Harlem, 2014), or there is such a shortage of housing that the rental population is more than twice as large as what available rental units can support (San Francisco, today).

You probably gravitate towards articles and innovations involving today’s hot topics - artificial intelligence, machine learning, AR, and VR. Many of those technologies are not responsible for making life as we know it possible, they are creating life as we will know it in 5, 10, and 50 years. Have you ever thought about everything that is making life as we know it possible now, that will still be needed in 5, 10, and 50 years? What about all of the challenges that are created simply because we live in a dynamic world? More people are looking to live in work in urban areas than ever before and are pushing the limits of cities to make it happen. It is not pleasant for current residents, incoming residents, or local governments. There are hundreds of problems to be solved, and a limited amount of time to solve them.

Urban technology is making life as we know it sustainable, using tomorrow’s groundbreaking technology. But don’t be fooled, they are simultaneously redefining the way we live and move to be more efficient and enjoyable than ever before. Read more to find out what is trending in the urban tech space today, frameworks for thinking about urban technology, what investors predict will come soon, and how urban tech will advance alongside technology like AR, VR, AI, and ML.

Read the full white paper on Urban Tech!