NYU Tandon Urban Future Lab Announces Winners of the Urban Future Competition Prize

Winners collectively receive more than $150,000 in competition sponsored by BP Ventures, The NY Community Trust, and NYSERDA

2017 Urban Future Competition winners

Three startup companies bested a field of international competitors to win the 2017 Urban Future Competition for revolutionary technology in smart mobility, smart grid and smart cities sectors.

NEW YORK, February 26, 2018 – The NYU Tandon School of Engineering today announced the winners of its 2017 Urban Future Competition, which debuts the world’s most revolutionary smart mobility, smart city, and smart grid technologies. Held by the Urban Future Lab, New York City’s hub for smart cities, smart grid, and clean energy, the competition brought together the brightest entrepreneurs, mission-driven investors, policy leaders, and corporate sponsors for a prestigious pitch competition.

The competition drew a record-breaking number of applications, with submissions from more than 22 countries and sponsorships from BP Ventures, The New York Community Trust (NYCT), and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The three winners, chosen by industry-leading investors and corporate leaders, represent the world’s most promising companies and technologies across three tracks: BP Smart Mobility, NYCT Smart City, and NYCT Smart Grid. Dollaride won the BP Smart Mobility category, Avvir won the NYCT Smart City category, and simuwatt won the NYCT Smart Grid category.

  • Brooklyn-based Dollaride empowers every-day people to overcome the challenges of living in transportation deserts by using "dollar vans." The company's ride-sharing technology makes this private network of vans accessible to more passengers & neighborhoods who struggle with weak public transit options.
  • Avvir is a construction technology company based in New York City that employs computer vision and deep learning to provide automated construction verification and progress monitoring. It offers customers assurance that buildings are developed to spec and on schedule.
  • Boulder, Colorado-based simuwatt enables building owners, experts and utilities to identify, prioritize, and realize energy efficiency investments through standardized data acquisition, modeling and analytics.

Each Urban Future Competition Prize winner received a non-dilutive, non-equity cash prize of $50,000 and office space in Urban Future Lab’s internationally recognized cleantech incubator program, ACRE, for a minimum six-month engagement. These winners will join a portfolio of market-ready companies that strategic funders and corporate investors turn to for new deals and technology investments. The competition’s $50,000 cash prizes are funded by BP Ventures, NYCT, and NYSERDA.

“The Urban Future Competition attracted a record number of applicants from all over the world. The best of the best will now work at Tandon’s Urban Future Lab in Downtown Brooklyn, building their market-ready solutions to climate change and making our cities, our grid, and our transportation sectors smarter, cleaner, and more equitable,” said Pat Sapinsley, managing director of cleantech initiatives at NYU Tandon. “We are thrilled to be building the New York clean-energy economy by helping these young companies scale up.”

All finalists participated in an exclusive pitch competition in New York City on February 22, 2018. Competition jurors included Daniela Proske of BP’s Corporate Ventures Team; Lila Preston, partner at Generation Investment Management; Alex Wallen of Breakthrough Energy Ventures; and Adam Ruder, program manager at NYSERDA.

2017 Urban Future Competition

Finalists presented their pitches in front of a panel of jurors. Photo credit: Caroline Sinno

“New York is the leader in urban sustainability, evident in all the entrepreneurs who participated in this year’s Urban Future Competition,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, NYCT program officer, Thriving Communities National and NYC Environment. “Realizing energy-saving innovations is impossible without cooperation between public and private entities. These awards provide a much-needed boost for companies meeting intractable problems head on.”

“We are constantly seeking to support and nurture companies and technologies that will lay the foundation for the future of mobility in a lower carbon world,” said Meghan Sharp, managing director, BP Ventures. “The BP Smart Mobility track and the Urban Future Competition provide a platform for   innovators to make a positive impact and contribution to mobility in cities, while minimizing the impact on the environment.”

“New York’s march toward meeting Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading energy goals will require innovation, creativity, and collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA. “The companies included in the Urban Future Competition embody a passion to significantly contribute to our actions in combatting climate change and protecting our environment.  I congratulate this year’s winners, who will be joining other companies and innovators at the Urban Future Lab and will play a significant role in creating jobs and growing the clean-energy economy.”

Competition finalists came from a diverse range of industry verticals including construction, ridesharing, grid infrastructure, agriculture, building automation, artificial intelligence, machine vision, blockchain, electric vehicle, and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Visit urbanfuturecompetition.com for more information.

About the NYU Urban Future Lab and ACRE
The Urban Future Lab (UFL) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is New York City’s premier innovation hub for smart cities, the smart grid, and clean energy. The UFL is home to programs focused on policy, education, and market solutions for the green economy. ACRE, the UFL’s flagship program, is a business incubator that supports the growth of high-impact early-stage venture companies addressing climate change. ACRE incubator companies receive 24/7 access to desk space and conference rooms at an office in Downtown Brooklyn, in addition to professional business advisory and support services (legal, accounting, design) and introductions to ACRE’s network of market partners, investors, mentors, and startup resources. The UFL and all its programs are supported by NYSERDA, National Grid, Wells Fargo, Empire State Development Corporation, Daikin, and Orrick. More at ufl.nyc.

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, the country’s largest private research university, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.

About BP Ventures
BP Ventures identifies and invests in private, high growth, game-changing technology companies, accelerating cutting-edge innovations across the entire energy spectrum. Since 2006, BP Ventures has invested over $400 million in corporate venturing and has 42 active investments in its current portfolio.

BP Ventures’ portfolio is primarily focused on emerging technologies in oil and gas exploration and production and downstream conversion processes. In addition, it has a renewed strategic focus on five key areas: bio & low carbon products, carbon management, power & storage, advanced mobility, and digital transformation.

About The New York Community Trust
Through the generosity of New Yorkers who have set up charitable funds with us, we are able to make grants for a huge range of charitable activity so important to the well-being and vitality of our city.  We are New York City’s community foundation, and one of the largest funders of City nonprofits.  Since 1924, The Trust has helped make donors’ charitable dreams come true by funding the nonprofits that make our city a vital and secure place. See nycommunitytrust.org.

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram.