Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As 2020 began, Scrum Ventures was already considering a new startup program focusing on tech for cities and the urban environment. Then the spring brought the coronavirus pandemic and a wave of protests following the killing of George Floyd, sealing the deal.

Driving the news: Scrum Ventures, in partnership with former NBA all-star player and investor Baron Davis, is debuting SmartCityX, a program aimed at helping startups connect with potential advisers and business partners.

“The initial discussions were really around ‘how can we leverage the power of things like mobility and sustainability,’” Mike Proman, managing director of Scrum Ventures' studio program, tells Axios.

  • “Over the course of February and early March, as things deteriorated in the U.S., we saw this as an opportunity to find technologies that would be part of the solution.”
  • SmartCityX, which is Scrum Ventures' second program after one focused on sports last year, will culminate in some form of demo day next spring (though the format is unclear given the pandemic).
  • It will feature 100–150 startups, which will ideally fall into any of six categories: consumer products, mobility and transportation, smart buildings, sustainability and resources, infrastructure and connectivity, and social innovation.
  • Unlike traditional accelerator programs, SmartCityX does not make an equity investment in the startups, though Scrum Ventures may separately invest down the line.

The big picture: Davis tells Axios the program aims to "take an international view on education and living and start to provide tools to the right thought leaders where we can foster and champion a better and more sustainable lifestyle."

  • While Scrum Ventures has strong links to Japan and Japanese companies, Proman says that the SmartCityX program’s advisers will be diverse in expertise and geographical location.
  • In addition to Davis, advisers to the startups will include executives from Qualcomm, the city of San Diego, the city of San Jose, Adidas, and the San Francisco 49ers.

What’s next: Startups can apply until the end of November, and SmartCityX will make its selections for the program by January.

Go deeper: Pandemic reshapes a cadre of Y Combinator startups

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

Venture capital firms to include "diversity riders" in term sheets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ten venture capital firms on Wednesday will announce that they're now including "diversity riders" in term sheets submitted to startups, requiring that best efforts are made to bring underrepresented investors into the deals.

Why it matters: This is a tangible effort to diversify cap tables and, in so doing, expand access to investors who have historically been excluded.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.