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New York's hub for smart cities launches urban challenge

The city sees itself as ‘living lab’ for companies to deploy their sustainable urban technologies

The launch of the Urban Future Competition in New York City
The launch of the Urban Future Competition in New York City


The Urban Future Lab, New York City’s hub for smart cities, smart grid and clean energy, has launched the Urban Future Competition to draw leading clean-tech start-up companies to the city. The Lab, which is based in the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, is inviting start-ups with transformative business solutions for global urban energy and sustainability challenges 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, start-up companies in smart grid and smart cities categories. Winners will also join the ACRE incubator, the premier New York City smart cities and clean-tech 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 start-up 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 clean-tech 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 realise 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 where 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.


In her opening remarks, Sapinsley 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 start-ups to join us."


The application deadline is 14 August 2016. Finalists will pitch at Jury Day on September 12, 2016.

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