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$50,000 prizes for smart city start-ups

The hub is housed at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and winners will join a vibrant community of change agents

The New York lab is creating and testing solutions for cities' most pressing challenges
The New York lab is creating and testing solutions for cities' most pressing challenges

The Urban Future Lab, New York City’s hub for smart cities, smart grid, and clean energy, has launched a competition to find the world’s top smart city, smart grid and smart mobility technology start-ups.


Winners of its 2017 Urban Future Competition will receive $50,000 each and a secure a place in the city’s cleantech incubator programme, ACRE, housed in the Urban Future Lab, at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, in Downtown Brooklyn.


Sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the competition is designed to showcase the “world’s most revolutionary” smart city, smart grid, and smart mobility technologies by bringing the brightest entrepreneurs together with mission-driven investors, policy leaders, and corporate sponsors for a prestigious pitch competition in the city.


“We are fortunate to be at the intersection of New York’s supportive state and municipal policies and in a city whose massive size and diverse population makes it the ideal laboratory for creating and testing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges pertaining to sustainable urban development,” said Pat Sapinsley, managing director of cleantech initiatives at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.


“Winners of the 2017 competition will join our vibrant community of change agents building a smarter, cleaner future for cities around the world.”


Non-dilutive, non-equity, cash prizes of $50,000 will be awarded to the top company in each of the competition’s three categories: the smart city track; the smart grid track; and the smart mobility track.


Applications for the smart mobility track could pertain to electric vehicles (EVs) and EV infrastructure solutions, high performance and low carbon vehicle materials, autonomous vehicle technology and mobility artificial intelligence (AI), digital tools for more connected mobility, alternative fuel technologies and infrastructure, or freight and logistics optimisation solutions.


Applications for the smart city track could pertain to urban infrastructure and resiliency, Internet of Things, sensor networks, analytics, or related themes.


Applications for the smart grid track could pertain to renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernisation, distributed generation and microgrids.


ACRE is one of six cleantech incubators sponsored by NYSERDA. Additional NYSERDA incubators are located at academic institutions and venture development organisations in Long Island, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany.


In joining the ACRE incubator at the Urban Future Lab, winners will gain unprecedented access to the competition’s strategic partners and corporate sponsors. They will also benefit from networking events, workshops and skills enhancement boot camps, and share experiences, challenges, solutions, and contacts with fellow entrepreneurs.


“The state’s clean energy incubators are playing a vital role in advancing innovative companies and business models that will help New York meet Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading energy goals,” added Alicia Barton, president and CEO at NYSERDA.


“I look forward to congratulating the winner of the competition and watching the company become part of New York’s energised clean energy community.”


Applications to the Urban Future Competition are open until 1 December 2017. For more information and to apply, visit



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