The Urban Future Prize competition awards two prizes to Cadence OneFive and Carbon Collective to accelerate market-ready climate tech solutions

two people each holding oversized check

Urban Future Prize Competition 2023 Winners: Bomee Jung, Co-Founder and CEO of Cadence OneFive and Zach Stein, Co-Founder of Carbon Collective    Photo by Ryan Rose Evanousky


Sponsored by NYU Tandon School of Engineering, The New York Community Trust, MUFG Bank, and Keyframe Capital, the Urban Future Lab’s annual Summit and Competition featured pitches from the finalists for the Climate Finance and Future Vision Prizes.

The Urban Future Summit, now in its seventh year, is hosted by the Urban Future Lab (UFL) at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and sponsored by The New York Community Trust, MUFG Bank, and Keyframe Capital. It was held on October 12, 2023 at Dock 72. After an afternoon of pitches and panel discussions, the jury, comprised of industry experts from Fifth WallEnergy Impact Partners, RA Capital Management, Aligned Climate Capital, and UFL, chose two winners that were awarded a $50,000 cash prize each and admission into the ACRE incubator.

  • The winner of the 2023 Climate Finance Prize is Carbon Collective. Carbon Collective puts 401k's to work to solve climate change by divesting from CO2-producing companies, investing in environmentally clean companies and voting proxies to encourage even better corporate behavior.
  • The winner of the 2023 Future Vision Prize is Cadence OneFive. Cadence OneFive is a climate justice-motivated public benefit corporation creating a market-transforming solution to accelerate building decarbonization and climate adaptation. Their software embodies half a century of building science expertise and construction management best practices.

This year, UFL received 224 applications from market-ready startups innovating across climate finance, buildings, circular economy, transportation, electricity, and manufacturing and narrowed this competitive application pool down to 8 incredible finalists. "Every year, we spend at least 5 months scouting for the brightest startups with the most promising solutions to climate change," said Austin Evarts, Director of the ACRE Incubator at Urban Future Lab. "Our evaluation process is incredibly rigorous. We are thrilled to work with Cadence OneFive and Carbon Collective, and all of the finalists should be proud of themselves. They will continue to do great things.”

"While it is exciting to welcome 2 new companies to ACRE through this competition, it is even more thrilling to know that there are so many extremely qualified participants from which we choose the winners," said Pat Sapinsley, Managing Director of Cleantech Initiatives at the Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon. "By adding the Climate Finance track we are expanding the pool of climate change companies and moving the needle on the deployment of climate solutions."

“We need big ideas and bold solutions to address the intensifying climate chaos we are facing,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, Senior Program Officer for the Local, National and International Environment. “For the past 7 years, the Urban Future Prize Competition has given visionary entrepreneurs an outstanding platform to advance new technologies and approaches that can help cities become more sustainable.”

As a primary focus in this year’s summit, UFL brought together a panel of experts to discuss the challenges of funding first-of-a-kind (FOAK) projects and Climate Finance. FOAK projects are a critical roadblock to scaling climate solutions and difficulties in funding are due to large capital requirements, low returns for traditional venture capitalists, and high risk for project finance investors.

“We were thrilled to see Climate Finance get a dedicated track for this competition. As we said in the pitch, the precursor to emissions reduced is dollars invested. We’re honored to have won and look forward to working with UFL to accelerate our mission.”, said Zach Stein, Co-Founder of Carbon Collective 

“Urban Future Lab, in our view, is a cornerstone of climate innovation in New York City and beyond. One of the greatest challenges we anticipate facing in the coming decade will be how to finance the scale up of new technologies in the energy economy. We’re excited to partner with UFL in furthering that conversation.”, said John Rapaport, Chief Investment Officer at Keyframe Capital.

“Now is the time to focus on implementation of climate solutions and Urban Future Lab has an incredible track record in supporting the do-ers at the leading edge. We’re honored to join UFL’s portcos and excited to fast-forward our part in creating a just transition.”, said Bomee Jung, Co-Founder and CEO of Cadence OneFive.

Beth Gilroy, Director of Environmental & Sustainability Management at MUFG Global Corporate & Investment Bank highlighted that, “MUFG Bank is pleased to support the Urban Future Lab Climate Finance Prize as part of our global commitment to support the transition to a low carbon economy. As a leading global financial institution based in Japan and backed by locations in more than 50 countries and regions, we are working hand in hand with our clients and financing innovative companies from pre-IPO up to large corporates and projects that are bringing to market new sustainable technologies addressing critical challenges in sectors across the global economy. Congratulations to the winners."



The Urban Future Lab 

The Urban Future Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is a non-profit innovation hub for best-in-class climatetech startups with a focus on clean energy and sustainable urban infrastructure solutions. It is home to ACRE, New York's longest-running climatetech incubator, and tech-focused accelerators such as Carbon to Value Initiative, Offshorewind Innovation Hub, Innovate UK Global Incubator Programme, the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator and the Clean Start program.

Through their 6 programs, we support innovators on their journey to scaling up and commercializing climate solutions. Since 2009, we’ve supported 170+ startups with an industry-leading 88% company survival rate and several impressive exits (Smarter Grid Solutions, Artemis, Go Electric, Keen Home, Honest Buildings). They have raised $2.3B in venture capital, project finance, and grants, created 4,000+ jobs, and facilitated 100+ events with 2,000+ attendees per year. We are proud to champion the brightest minds in climatetech innovation, providing them with the necessary support and resources to scale up their transformative solutions while leveraging New York’s built environment and access to climate finance.

As an integral part of NYU Tandon’s Sustainable Engineering Initiative, they are home to programs focused on market solutions and education for the green economy.   It is a multi-faceted approach to tackling climate change & environmental contamination and we aim to develop engineering solutions to avoid, mitigate, and remediate emissions responsible for climate change and environmental contamination, as well as engineering strategies to evaluate the impact of and adapt to these environmental challenges.


Press Contact for additional information and photos:

Christelle Torres
Head of Brand Strategy, Urban Future Lab