Posted March 13th, 2014
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering today announced the opening of the Urban Future Lab, a business incubator in Downtown Brooklyn that supports startup companies, showcases innovation, and provides educational and workforce training focused on sustainable infrastructure and urban resilience. Located at NYU School of Engineering’s Downtown Brooklyn campus, the Urban Future Lab combines a business incubation program with a product demonstration and exhibition space, while also offering crucial educational programming and job training workshops. NYU School of Engineering's K-12 STEM education program provides New York City public school teachers with the skills to teach students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and Green City Force’s Clean Energy Corps prepares young adults from low-income backgrounds for careers related to sustainability. When operating at full capacity, the 10,000 square-foot incubator will house approximately 20 companies, and has the potential to educate 50 public school teachers, host hundreds of public school students and train dozens of young adults on an annual basis. The creation and ongoing operation of the Urban Future Lab is expected to generate over 9,000 new jobs by 2025. NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball and NYU School of Engineering Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan were joined at the opening ceremony, at the Urban Future Lab at 15 MetroTech Center, by NYU Provost David McLaughlin, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President John Rhodes, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura, National Grid Director for Community and Customer Management Michael Ruiz, ADT Security Systems Director of Innovation Programs Andrew Droney, and Forest City Ratner Companies.
"The Urban Future Lab encourages economic growth, job creation and innovation while connecting New Yorkers to the flourishing clean technology sector,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “Cultivating the tech sector, through incubators like the Urban Future Lab, is critical to developing jobs for all New Yorkers, including students, teachers, and low-income entrepreneurs."
“This incubator is a leading example of how strong partnerships among the City, academia, and the private sector can promote entrepreneurship and facilitate cutting-edge research and education,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “The Urban Future Lab will provide much-needed affordable space, training, and resources for talented entrepreneurs and schoolchildren alike to design solutions to global urban problems.”
“This public-private-academic collaboration creates a tremendous opportunity for New York to be a global leader in shaping the city of the future,” said NYU School of Engineering Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan. “Cities everywhere are adopting smart technology to answer the needs of an increasingly urbanized population, and greater emphasis needs to be placed on developing those technologies now. The Urban Future Lab will accelerate the commercialization of university innovation and expand our role as a driver of technological solutions and entrepreneurship in the City.”
In 2013, NYCEDC conducted extensive research that pointed to a large opportunity to diversify the local economy by supporting entrepreneurship in solving the city’s environmental and infrastructural challenges. Specifically, NYCEDC identified the need for a dedicated center to assist clean technology and energy entrepreneurs with the challenges they face in starting and growing early-stage companies. NYCEDC subsequently selected the NYU School of Engineering in 2013 through a competitive process to form a partnership for creation of the Urban Future Lab.
The Urban Future Lab will house companies seeking to solve challenges of energy efficiency, climate adaptation, resiliency, and other technologies that are helping cities and infrastructure become smarter and more sustainable. The facility incorporates a 2,000-square-foot demonstration and exhibition space to host a variety of programs, meet-ups, and exhibits that bring the vision for livable cities and smart buildings to life. It will also be a home to educational classes and events, consultations, topical symposia and product demonstrations.
The Urban Future Lab concentrates local, city and state resources designed to support the clean technology sector into a single location, and includes support through a corporate sponsorship from National Grid, as well as in-kind support from organizations including the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Urban Green Council. Forest City Ratner, the property’s owner, provides lease support for the lab. To help prepare the next generation of New Yorkers for careers related to urban sustainability, the Urban Future Lab will support the NYU School of Engineering's internationally renowned K-12 STEM programming, including the Science of Smart Cities program for middle school students, which has the potential to train 50 teachers per year and reach hundreds of students across New York City.
Several local and international partnerships will provide further opportunities to Urban Future Lab’s tenants and the broader community. Because New York City’s own buildings are an ideal market for technologies that save energy and money, the Urban Future Lab plans to work with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to provide a pipeline of energy efficiency technologies for the forthcoming Innovative Demonstrations for Energy Adaptability (IDEA) program. The Urban Future Lab is also establishing relationships with countries such as Canada, Denmark and the United Kingdom, including a new partnership with the Danish Cleantech Hub, enabling New York City businesses to tap into international markets and expertise.
“The future is now in Brooklyn, and we are poised to lead. In that spirit, I congratulate the New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York University on the occasion of opening the Urban Future Lab,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This business incubator will advance our efforts to improve educational programming, employment opportunities and energy efficiency in our borough. The Urban Future Lab is proof positive that innovation begins in Brooklyn.”
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome the Urban Future Lab to Brooklyn,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “This may be the most recent of NYC's business incubators, but I am sure it will prove to be the most innovative with an influence that reaches across the globe. Congratulations!”
"I am very excited to welcome the Urban Future Lab as a way to support the clean technology sector in a single location,” said State Assemblymember Joan L. Millman. “It is only natural that this location is in the heart of Brooklyn's thriving tech sector. As a former school teacher, I am especially looking forward to seeing the educational programming and training this incubator will make possible through partnerships with teachers, students and companies."
“With more and more companies choosing to call Downtown Brooklyn home, it is safe to say that we are the newest hub of innovation in the United States,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin. “I am excited for the Urban Future Lab to come to Downtown Brooklyn and the opportunities it will present for our community. I want to thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York University for making this possible.”
“DCAS congratulates EDC and NYU School of Engineering on this forward-thinking demonstration site for energy technologies. The Urban Future Lab helps emerging companies to expand their market reach and promotes New York City as a nexus for cleantech development,” said DCAS Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch. “DCAS looks forward to partnering with the Urban Future Lab through our new IDEA program to provide City facilities to test new energy solutions.”
There is no better home for the Urban Future Lab than MetroTech Center,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. “This new incubator complements our efforts to strengthen the “Tech” in MetroTech. We look forward to great things to come from this innovative new venture, including its impact locally as part of the blossoming Brooklyn Tech Triangle.”
“We look forward to being a part of this exciting new venture and helping innovative small businesses expand in Brooklyn and New York City,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “The Chamber is exploring opportunities to nurture the growing innovation economy in Brooklyn and ensure that the whole borough benefits.”
“National Grid is pleased to support the Urban Future Lab and encourage new local businesses—especially those that are at the cutting edge of the innovation and technology needed to solve the region’s energy and environmental challenges,” said Michael Ruiz, Director for Community and Customer Management, National Grid New York. “Clean energy is a top priority for National Grid and part of our ‘Connect 21’ initiative to drive economic growth, promote cleaner energy and advance innovative technologies to meet the growing energy needs of our communities.”
The Urban Future Lab incorporates and expands upon the NYU School of Engineering’s existing programs supporting innovation, including the new PowerBridgeNY proof-of-concept center and the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE), both in partnership with NYSERDA. Providing mentorship, funding and training, PowerBridgeNY helps commercialize university research into early-stage energy companies, creating new opportunities for diversifying the city’s economy.
“The Urban Future Lab will be an innovation hub that develops and brings to market products to address a wide range of energy and sustainability fields,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “The work achieved here through the PowerBridge Proof of Concept Center and the ACRE incubator will create jobs and support the clean-energy economy that Governor Cuomo is fostering in the State.”
The Urban Future Lab also marks an expansion of New York City’s growing network of 15 business incubators launched to date. Through this network, NYCEDC is providing low-cost space (more than 160,000 square feet to date) as well as training and networking opportunities to hundreds of startups and small businesses across a variety of sectors. Over 650 startup businesses and 1,200 employees are currently located at the City-sponsored incubators, and these companies have raised more than $160 million in venture funding.
The Urban Future Lab is the third NYU School of Engineering-affiliated incubator operating in partnership with the City, following the Varick Street Incubator in Manhattan (2009) and the DUMBO Incubator (2012). An additional incubator, NYC ACRE, opened within the Varick Street facility in 2009. To date, these incubators have generated more than $251 million in economic activity, created more than 900 jobs, and contributed in excess of $31.4 million in local, state, and federal tax revenue. More than 50 companies have graduated to larger spaces in New York, and six have been acquired by public and private companies for more than $60 million.
The Urban Future Lab is currently accepting new tenants. Applications and additional information can be found at the Urban Future Lab website at www.urbanfuturelab.com.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.