Competition to Attract Smart-City, Smart Grid Startups to NYC

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The Urban Future Lab, New York City’s hub for smart cities, smart grid, and clean energy at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, launched the Urban Future Competition during New York Energy Week 2016 to draw leading cleantech startup companies to New York City. Startups with transformative business solutions for global urban energy and sustainability challenges will compete to pitch their solutions to a jury of investors, market partners, and successful entrepreneurs.

Prizes of $25,000 will be awarded to the top early-stage, startup companies in Smart Grid and Smart Cities categories:

  • One winner in the Smart Grid category: includes but is not limited to renewable energy, grid modernization, and distributed / microgrids.
  • One winner in the Smart Cities category: includes but is not limited to urban infrastructure and resiliency, transportation and transit, Internet of Things, sensor networks, and analytics.

Winners will also join the ACRE incubator, the premier New York City smart-cities and cleantech incubator housed at the NYU Urban Future Lab. They will meet with mentors from the strategic partners and sponsors including the Smart Grid teams at the largest utilities in New York.

The competition fosters pilot and demonstration opportunities with industry partners and sponsors to encourage the startup companies to establish themselves or expand in New York City.

“With the nation’s largest municipal markets in energy, transit, water and waste, New York City offers a living lab for companies to deploy their sustainable urban technologies,” said Pat Sapinsley, managing director of cleantech initiatives at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “New York’s ambitious Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative has created an unprecedented market opportunity for smart cities and cleantech startups to thrive. As ACRE is uniquely located in REV territory, it is a natural test bed for the innovative technologies and business models needed to realize New York’s ambitious targets and to deploy market-based solutions at scale to make New York City – and cities around the world – smarter, more efficient, and more resilient for current and future urban dwellers.”

The NYU Urban Future Lab announced the competition yesterday at New York Energy Week 2016. Attendees learned more about the work of the ACRE incubator at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and heard from a panel of industry leaders and entrepreneurs about the most pressing market needs and opportunities in smart cities and smart grid. Startup founders from ACRE companies shared their success stories, including

  • Eli Leland, co-founder and chief product officer of Voltaiq
  • Barton Leslie, vice president – Americas of Voyage Control
  • Lauren Salz, co-founder and chief operating officer of Sealed

Sapinsley moderated the panel. In her opening remarks at the launch, she said: “Given the new opportunities provided by NYREV, New York is becoming a leader in market-driven, clean-energy new business models and new technology companies. The ACRE incubator is a wonderful place for businesses in this space to grow and prosper. The companies here benefit from a well-cultivated energy ecosystem. Funders, utilities, policy makers are here often. Everyone benefits. We hope to encourage companies from other geographical areas and local startups to join us.”

Competition jurors include industry leaders and market partners, including

  • David Gilford, senior director of client strategy at Intersection Co.
  • Daniel Hullah, director of ventures at National Grid
  • Margarett Jolly, director research and development at Con Edison
  • Micah Kotch, managing director of Urban-X
  • Lila Preston, partner at Generation Investment Management
  • Jun Shimada, founder and chief executive officer of ThinkEco

Application deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET August 14, 2016. Finalists will pitch at Jury Day on September 12, 2016. The two winners will receive their $25,000 prizes and pitch their businesses at the Urban Future Competition Awards Showcase on September 27 at the Greentech Media REV Future Conference (New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street Brooklyn, NY 11201). For information and to apply, visit http://ufl.nyc/competition.

Image credit: New York City, By Dschwen – English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=612300

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