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Urban Future Lab Launches Startup Competition for Smart City, Smart Grid, and Smart Mobility

By Ken Briodagh September 27, 2017

The Urban Future Lab, New York City's hub for smart cities, smart grid, and clean energy at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, has announced the launch of its 2017 Urban Future Competition.

The competition is sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and is designed to feature 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 New York City. The winner in each of three categories will get $50,000 cash and the opportunity to grow the business into a successful venture in one of New York State's most successful and longest-running cleantech business incubation programs, ACRE, housed in the Urban Future Lab in Downtown Brooklyn.

“Startup Genome's 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report identified New York City as the second largest startup ecosystem in the world. The Urban Future Lab is that ecosystem's hub for all things smart city, smart grid, and clean energy,” said Pat Sapinsley, managing director, cleantech initiatives, NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “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. 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: Smart City, Smart Grid, and Smart Mobility. 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 optimization 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 modernization, distributed generation, microgrids, and more.

“Since winning the 2016 competition and joining the ACRE incubator program at the Urban Future Lab, Fentrend has received $5.5 million in client projects, established a strategic partnership with the largest window contracting company in New York City, and has seen a 45 percent increase in revenue,” said Andy Huh, co-founder, Fentrend, a previous winner.

ACRE is one of six cleantech incubators sponsored by NYSERDA. Additional NYSERDA incubators are located at academic institutions and venture development organizations in Long Island, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany. In joining the ACRE incubator at the Urban Future Lab, winners gain access to strategic partners and corporate sponsors. They also benefit from networking events, workshops and skills enhancement boot camps, and share experiences, challenges, solutions, and contacts with fellow entrepreneurs.

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


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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