Better technology for the cities of the future


Eight of the world's most promising and innovative technology companies have been selected for the accelerator program Urbantech. They are getting the opportunity to scale and grow their solutions through an intense and tailored acceleration process in partnership with COWI and other companies.

According to the UN, up to 70 per cent 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.

The innovation program Urbantech is founded by COWI, VKR Holding/VELUX and EWII and supported by Realdania and the Danish Industry Foundation with the purpose of helping selected entrepreneurs to further develop their technology and business, while looking for answers and solutions to major societal challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity.


Now, eight promising and innovative technology start-ups from across the globe have been selected for this year’s program. They will help to turbo-charge the development of tech-based solutions for future sustainable cities – in the Nordics and around the world.

The start-ups have different innovative approaches – ranging from advanced materials, over innovative uses of sensors, to new ways of managing projects and assets in the urban space and gaining strategic insights from data flows. In other words, technology with a potential to be applied at scale, yielding significant sustainability gains for cities across the world

COWI is partnering up with four of the start-ups in collaboration with Velux and Ewii:

Breeze Technologies works with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to provide hyperlocal air quality and climate data that can help cities and corporations to design more efficient clean air action plans.

German-based CAALA develops digital platforms for project developers, portfolio managers and architects for energy-efficient and climate-neutral building designs.

InfoTiles provides a platform for handling sensor data, which could be relevant for both Connected cars, smart building, and smart water initiatives. And from Finland, VisiLean is exploring cloud-based mobile apps as a platform for efficient planning and tracking of construction projects.

(See the full list of selected start-ups below)


Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO of COWI, sees the program as an opportunity to learn from each other:

"Tomorrow's winners are the digital frontrunners. Both for small and large businesses. And there is no doubt that the development environments that exist around start-ups are hugely inspiring to COWI. As a company, we gain insight into new technologies – also outside our own industry – and our agility and creativity are put to the test. Last year's program demonstrated how much both parties can learn from each other in relation to creating innovative solutions that are both commercially and environmentally sustainable,” he says.

Urbantech creates business results

This is the second time Urbantech runs as a program. During the first round, in 2019, the outcome was a range of pilot successes. These included 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 start-ups, the collaboration provided a boost to their commercial development.

Facts about Urbantech

The Urbantech program runs for a total of three years, and each year, a set of start-ups from the urban tech field are invited to join a three-month acceleration program with a subsequent alumni program. Both Danish and international technology start-ups 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 start-ups

Breeze Technologies
Urbantech pilot partners: VKR/VELUX and COWI

Breeze Technologies is a technology leader in air quality sensors, data and analytics. The start-up provides hyperlocal air quality and climate data to help cities and corporations design more efficient clean air action plans with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

Urbantech pilot partners: VKR/VELUX and 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 projects, and thereby plays a crucial role in decarbonizing the construction and real estate industry.

Urbantech pilot partners: EWII and 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 and 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 and 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 and EWII

Solartes develops smart windows that automatically regulate the indoor climate and reduce energy loss. This is achieved through their unique smart material, which 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.

Program partners


Realdania is a philanthropic association with approximately 155,000 members. Its mission is to improve the quality of life by improving the built environment – the physical surroundings of our everyday life. Since 2000, Realdania has supported more than 3,350 projects with more than DKK 18 billion. Learn more:

The Danish Industry Foundation

The Danish Industry Foundation is a philanthropic foundation working towards strengthening the competitiveness of the Danish industry. This is done within areas like internationalization, innovation, development of competencies, the evolution and utilization of new knowledge, and implementation of new technology. Learn more:


COWI is a leading consulting group that creates value for customers, people and society through our unique 360° approach. With world-class experts within engineering, environment and economy, we take on these challenges from many different angles in order to create more coherent solutions for our customers. Learn more:

VKR Holding

VKR Holding A/S is a holding and investment company. We create value through investments and ownership of companies that develop, produce and market products useful to society. Our products bring daylight, fresh air and a better environment into people’s everyday lives. VKR Holding is the parent company in the VKR Group, which include business areas like roof windows and skylights (e.g., VELUX), vertical windows and doors (e.g., VELFAC and Rationel), as well as thermal solar energy (Arcon-Sunmark). Learn more:


The EWII Group is the Triangle Region’s local energy company. The EWII Group is helping shape the future of the energy industry and plays a central role in the development of the intelligent solutions and sustainable energy technologies of the future. Through energy, we will create the society of tomorrow. We make responsible and visionary investments in the development of our society. Learn more:


Download all our print-quality images and logos on our main press page here:

Get in contact

COWI employee Søren Kragh Pedersen

Søren Kragh Pedersen
Head of Group PA & PR
Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 2025 7018