A new entity called Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP) has raised a $400 million Series A with the goal of “future proofing” infrastructure through technology.
This news caught our attention for more than one reason. First of all, the obvious. It’s not often you see such massive Series As. Secondly, this company was just formed last August and has already raised a massive amount of cash (Form D here). And it has raised it from some big names: Alphabet and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
So we did some digging. First off, Sidewalk Infrastructure is not a typical startup. It’s actually a 15-person holding company that is a spinoff of Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, according to Fortune, which broke the funding news. As mentioned above, the New York-based company says its mission is to “future proof” infrastructure through technology. Its goal is to build, own, operate and invest. And it’s focused on mobility, energy, water and waste, and digital infrastructure.
Google veterans Jonathan Winer and Brian Barlow are co-CEOs of SIP, which aims to “pioneer technology-enabled infrastructure to transform urban life.”
On its website, SIP notes that it takes a hybrid approach to opportunities it pursues. It owns, acquires and invests both in large-scale, technology-enabled infrastructure projects and in the companies that develop the underlying technology. It then convenes investors, policymakers, academics and technologists “to attack a challenge from all perspectives” before deploying capital on solutions.
An example of a company that it has backed so far, according to Crunchbase data, is AMP Robotics. The startup, which claims it creates robotic systems that sort recyclable material at a fraction of the cost of current technology, raised $16 million in a Series A last November.
On its website, SIP also notes:
“The population living in urban areas is expected to double by 2050. Cities — and the people who live in them — face daunting challenges. Climate change threatens to bring storms, flooding, and fires with increased frequency; greater density is causing congestion, air pollution, and a lack of affordable transportation; outdated waste and water systems are strained.
There is broad consensus — spanning sectors and political divides — that our country is in urgent need of trillions of dollars in new infrastructure spending.
The question is how to spend those trillions. We can’t keep investing in Band-Aids for infrastructure from a bygone era.”