Stonly Baptiste, Urban.Us

upstarts urban.us

Stonly Baptiste has a lofty goal, and he cofounded Urban.Us to achieve it.

The early-stage investment firm focuses on startups that are addressing urban issues -- everything from water and energy to transportation and food.

He and cofounder Shaun Abramson launched the Miami-based firm in 2013 to not just fund these companies but to create a community committed to urban innovation. They've invested $750,000 in 16 startups so far.

For the last two years, they've sponsored a Smart Cities Startup conference in Miami. As they expand the fund, Baptiste, 30, said they're looking for startups that could scale to 100 cities within five years.

"Cities present interesting possibilities to solve problems," he said. "If you find the right thing, it tends to strike lots of cities across the board." -- Aimee Rawlins

First published June 24, 2015: 8:22 AM ET