the VC investing in social entrepreneurs for a better urban future.
Clara Brenner is co-founder and Managing Partner of the Urban Innovation Fund, a venture capital firm she established to invest in the future of cities. She had a vision to empower entrepreneurs keen to solve urban problems, and so with business partner Julie Lein, she is helping grow tomorrow’s most valued companies.
The UIF provides seed capital and regulatory support to social entrepreneurs looking to create solutions to tough urban challenges, such as transportation, work force, housing in the built environment and education, amongst others.
Clara’s journey began in Washington DC where the two biggest industries are government and real estate, and whilst she has no desire to get involved with GovTech just yet, she did enjoy working in real estate, cutting her teeth at Fundrise, a social impact company.
From there Clara went on to co-found Tumml, a startup hub for urban tech before establishing the Urban Innovation Fund, which closed a $24.5m seed stage fund last June. And now, with a diverse portfolio of companies under their wing, Urban Innovation fund is set to dramatically change the urban landscape.
Join us as we chat with Clara about:
Her motivation to begin her hero's journey, from Washington DC to San Francisco.
The role technology will play in shaping the urban environments of the future.
Why she’s happy for people to acknowledge her success as well as being female, rather than just accepting it.
The diverse portfolio that the UIF has inadvertently invested in and why she is drawn to companies with strong female and POC founders.
Why she was so determined as a kid not to follow in her mother’s footsteps and how, despite her best efforts, the apple really didn’t fall too far from the tree.
What personality traits and motivations entrepreneurs need to have if they hope to succeed with her.
The appalling parental leave policy in the USA and the business Clara is championing to support breastfeeding mothers who have to go back to work.
Her vision for the San Francisco of the future.