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CityLab
Economy

The Rise of ‘Urban Tech’

From food-delivery startups to mapping and co-living companies, technology focused on urban systems is drawing billions of dollars in venture capital.
A cyclist delivers food for Deliveroo in London.
A cyclist delivers food for Deliveroo in London. Toby Melville/Reuters

The terms high-tech and venture capital conjure images of industries such as artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency. But the fact of the matter is that cities and urbanism represent the biggest new tech sector of all, what I like to call “urban tech.”

Some of the most important tech companies of the past decade essentially work on and in cities. Uber and Airbnb are probably the best-known. They are two of the select companies that tech industry analyst Scott Galloway believes may be able to join or compete with the “Big Four” at the upper reaches of the tech stratosphere: Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook.