NYC Urban Future Lab Opens Its Doors To A Sustainable Future
By Sander Dolder, Senior Project Manager, Center for Economic Transformation
Last Thursday, a standing-room-only crowd of over 120 attendees and notable speakers gathered in Downtown Brooklyn for the official opening of the Urban Future Lab. The diverse mix of startups, government, academic, private industry and non-profit participants exemplified NYCEDC’s original concept to bring together resources that clean technology and energy entrepreneurs need when starting and growing early-stage companies.
After extensive research in 2013, NYCEDC outlined the need for such a dedicated center and partnered with the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering to create the Urban Future Lab. With approximately 10,000 square feet of space at 15 MetroTech Center, the Urban Future Lab supports promising startups focused on solving urban challenges of sustainability, energy, and resilience.
By providing affordable space, mentorship, programming, and opportunities to showcase innovations, the Urban Future Lab helps entrepreneurs overcome obstacles they face in starting and growing businesses. The goal is to ensure that NYC meets its increased demand for sustainable resources and resilient infrastructure, while creating new companies that will form the backbone of a robust industry cluster.
The Urban Future Lab will also play an important role in educating tomorrow’s talent by hosting some of the NYU School of Engineering's K-12 STEM education programs that provide New York City public school teachers with the skills to teach students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It will also host Green City Force’s Clean Energy Corps, which prepares young adults from low-income backgrounds for careers related to sustainability.
Just one week after its official opening, the Urban Future Lab is well on its way toward a sustainable future, already supporting a diverse group of startups that will help solve tomorrow’s urban problems. The current lineup includes:
- Smarter Grid Solutions: Originally from Scotland, this international company is partnering with NYSERDA and Con Edison to improve the electric grid’s efficiency and reliability.
- Radiator Labs: Founded at Columbia University, the company is on a mission to make apartment radiators more efficient, reducing energy consumption and costs for every New Yorkers
- BlocPower: An online platform focused on aggregating micro-portfolios of churches, synagogues, non-profits, small businesses and multifamily properties in financially underserved communities that have high energy costs and connecting them to individual and institutional investors.