Helping Urban Tech Startups Reach the Next Level
By David Gilford, Vice President, and Jason Goode, Project Manager, Clean Technology & Energy
To help New York City's entrepreneurship ecosystem grow, NYCEDC is launching a new model of support for fast-growing companies that are solving our most pressing urban challenges
New York City has a vibrant and extensive early-stage startup ecosystem that includes NYCEDC’s network of 16 business incubators and co-working spaces. These facilities have helped over 1,000 companies and 1,500 employees by providing affordable space, business services, training, lab equipment, and access to a network of investors and industry peers. The result: since 2009, incubator-supported companies have received more than $180M in venture funding.
Beyond creating jobs, many of these companies also develop solutions to the urban challenges that all New Yorkers face, ranging from vulnerable transportation infrastructure to rising energy prices. With over one million buildings, 6,000 miles of streets, 789 bridges and tunnels, a $15 billion annual energy spend, and the world’s largest sanitation department, NYC is arguably the world’s most important market for urban innovation.
For many startups, success creates its own challenges. As companies outgrow incubators, they sometimes struggle to find a new space in NYC with flexible and affordable lease terms. Moreover, many urban tech companies need access to expensive prototyping and testing facilities, which aren’t economical on their own. Spaces such as the Urban Future Lab are filled with ambitious, fast-growing startups that express these needs as they hire more New Yorkers and iterate on new products.
To meet these challenges, NYCEDC is pioneering a new model for supporting entrepreneurship: the Urban Technology Growth Hub. This facility will include a 50,000+ square foot space tailored to the needs of growth-stage companies—specifically those addressing urban challenges in the clean technology, energy, infrastructure, and smart cities sectors.
The Hub will provide dedicated workspace, access to prototyping and testing resources, and a strong community with shared objectives and services. By attracting the most innovative companies globally, we believe that the Hub will generate significant economic impact, become a leader in innovation, and contribute to a more sustainable, resilient, and connected New York.
As a part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s One City: Built to Last plan, the Urban Technology Growth Hub marks a new chapter in NYC’s desire to “become a global hub for clean energy technology and innovation.” NYC lies at the forefront of the challenges presented by a complex, rapidly urbanizing world—but the opportunity has also never been greater. For example, a recent report authored by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimates that around US$50 trillion is required for investment in transport, building energy efficiency, telecommunications, and water and waste infrastructure over the next 15 years. Now is the time for NYC to become a leader in innovation of urban systems. Investing in this space will not only make the City a better place to live, but will improve NYC’s economic competitiveness, and become a vital source of job growth.
The next step in fulfilling this vision began on April 6, 2015, with NYCEDC’s release of a Request for Proposals for the Urban Technology Growth Hub. NYCEDC is seeking an Operator with a large entrepreneurship network, proven business-development success, and experience with securing and managing real estate to develop and operate the new space.
To download a copy of the solicitation documents, please visit our Urban Technology Growth Hub RFP page. Submissions are due on June 5th, 2015.