Effort Will Provide Capital and Mentorship to Next Generation of Urban-Focused Startups with the Goal to Improve The Lives of 25M City Residents
Collaboration Was Created as Part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s CityXChange Conference
Today, Social Capital, whose mission is to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems, and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC), whose mission is to help cities become more resilient to the 21st century’s physical, social and economic challenges, announced a new collaboration aimed at ensuring urban residents around the world benefit from cutting edge resilience solutions. As part of the collaboration, Social Capital is committing $150 million solely to investing in and incubating up to ten companies focused on hard urban problems. 100RC will provide dedicated support and insight to help these companies understand and navigate the unique complexities of urban resilience challenges and to connect them to 100RC’s network of global cities so that they can develop and pilot products and services that help address the most intractable urban problems.
“Mayors are the unsung heroes of government as they have a large appetite for change and have many actionable ways to avoid bureaucracy and improve quality of life,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder & CEO of Social Capital. “Our partnership with 100 Resilient Cities will help us bring technologies, companies and promising solutions to them in a repeatable way to drive measurable improvements for the people that live in their cities and towns.”
“We’re partnering with Social Capital to help bridge the massive gap between what cities need in building resilience, and what tech entrepreneurs are currently providing,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “By bridging the tech-city gap, we can unlock solutions that can improve the lives of millions – if not billions – of urban residents over the long term. This collaboration is not about charity, but something even more powerful – using market forces and resilience thinking to solve massive global challenges.”
“Creating the right tools to unlock private capital for the good of cities and their residents is one of the greatest opportunities and challenges facing us today in an environment where public budgets are strained and stretched,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “By joining forces as unconventional actors focused on a common goal of resilience and development, 100RC and Social Capital are creating a new model to solve challenges facing cities.”
The goal of the collaboration is to bring innovative ideas and fresh thinking to some of the world’s greatest urban challenges and lay the groundwork for cities and technology companies to better collaborate in the future, leading to better outcomes for millions of urban residents. Social Capital will provide financial capital and time to these companies to bring the right team, product and business model together, so they become valuable companies. 100RC will advise and offer insight into how cities are approaching different resilience problems in order to help the companies find a successful fit into the city landscape.
The partnership grew out a relationship that was built over the last year at the Rockefeller Foundation’s inaugural CityXChange Summit which was created to provide a framework through which cities, startups, and venture capitalists can challenge each other to develop new models to work together and solve problems.
The collaboration is based on the premise that cities and the technology industry have much to gain from each other, but too often lack the insight, tools, and structures to collaborate effectively. Most investors have shied away from investing in the problems cities face, largely because of existing government processes and regulations are difficult to navigate and fully understand. This prevents the benefits from rapidly emerging technologies from reaching urban residents – particularly the poor and vulnerable.
By bringing together dedicated financial capital with experts in government to help companies understand and navigate complex urban markets, the collaboration will bring much needed support and insight to companies that are bringing new solutions to urban planning, intelligent transit, improved water and air quality, waste management, safety and security, storm water, flood planning and connected smart urban insights. It will also bring new perspectives to city leaders, giving them tools to better secure value from partnerships with tech companies.
About Social Capital:
Social Capital’s mission is to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems. Founded in 2011, the company provides capital, insights and tools to empower entrepreneurs who seek to have a positive impact on people’s lives and create more opportunity globally. Social Capital leverages data and machine learning to find great companies and then help make them better.
About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation:
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each member city who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.