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NYCEDC Announces Senvol as Winner of "NYC Next Idea" Global New Venture Competition

Winning Team Will Receive $35,000, Office Space and Business Services to Assist Them in Launching Their Innovative Venture in New York City

Senvol Chosen From Over 240 Teams From 51 Countries Around the World

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that Senvol has won the fifth annual NYC Next Idea competition, a global new venture competition that encourages teams from around the world to launch innovative business ventures in New York City.  Senvol, a Philadelphia-based group that leverages 3D printing to disrupt the distribution and supply of industrial parts, was selected from a highly competitive and diverse pool of more than 240 applicants from 51 countries.  Senvol will receive the grand prize of $35,000, six months of free office space at Columbia Startup Lab and pro bono services from GLG Share, JustWorks, and Michael Kasdan with Wiggin and Dana LLP. The 2013-2014 competition was designed and launched by NYCEDC, in partnership with Columbia University’s Engineering School.  

“NYC Next Idea draws the best ideas from teams from across the world to New York City, where they can develop into strong, thriving companies that create jobs,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “The talent exhibited by each participant in the competition proves that New York City is, and will remain, a center of innovation and entrepreneurship in the global economy.”    

“Record participation in this year’s NYC Next Idea competition demonstrates that students and recent graduates from around the world are seeking opportunities to bring their entrepreneurial spirit to New York City,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “I applaud all the entrants for their hard work and creativity, and am pleased that Senvol will receive critical funding and support to take its winning idea to the next level.”    

"New York City is an incredible place to be for a start-up because the access to talent, capital, customers and companies is simply unparalleled,” said Annie Wang and Zach Simkin, co-founders of Senvol. “The City has the strongest 3D printing community in the world and there is no other place we would rather be.”   Senvol (U.S.) leverages 3D printing to disrupt the distribution and supply of industrial parts, focusing on which spare parts can best be manufactured via 3D printing, resulting in a reduction in secondary costs such as shipping and inventory.  

The NYC Next Idea competition raises the visibility of New York City as a global center for innovation and entrepreneurship while showcasing talent from some of the top business and engineering schools from around the world. A rigorous evaluation process narrowed the applicant field from 242 school-affiliated or recently graduated teams to six finalists vying for critical assistance in launching their business in the city. Final selection of Senvol was made  following a keynote address by Jon Steinberg, President & Chief Operating Officer of BuzzFeed, and a round of rapid-fire 10-minute pitches and Q+A before a panel of five judges and a packed house of entrepreneurs, investors, government officials and students at AppNexus’ NYC headquarters.    

AirCare Labs was chosen as the runner-up and will receive six months of free office space at Columbia Startup Lab. The five finalists in addition to Senvol were:  

  • Edenworks (U.S.): delivers the future of urban farming with a sustainable, closed-loop agricultural technique that yields five to eight times more than traditional farming while consuming 10% less water and energy.
  • AirCare Labs (U.S.): develops inexpensive and convenient solutions that allow clinicians to remotely monitor patients through customized checklists via tablets or telephones.
  • NYC Breathe (U.S. and U.K.): makes a wireless pollution sensor that measures and transmits the levels of major pollutants. These sensors are attached to busses, taxis, and cars and collect and aggregate pollution data in real-time that displays as a heat-map.
  • NINU (Germany): offers first digital pregnancy companion to provide comprehensive lifestyle advice to expectant mothers through an app-hardware-service.
  • Magazino (Germany):  provides automated storage solutions that range from entire pallets to individual items. It can license its detection and storage algorithms and seeks to create a world-wide database of how to best handle goods robotically.      

“Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science is pleased to partner again with NYCEDC on the NYC Next Idea competition," said Brian Powell, Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Human Resources, and Administration at Columbia Engineering. “Today’s contestants are tomorrow’s leaders in commerce, in urban planning, and in sustainability. In that, the NYC Next Idea embodies what the City of New York and Columbia Engineering offer the global community: a thriving entrepreneurial spirit of cutting-edge innovation and design.”    

As part of the NYC Next Idea program, the members of the six finalist teams are spending the week immersed in New York City’s business community, attending informational panels with entrepreneurship stakeholders in the City including Kisi, PublicStuff, New York Tech Meetup, Kickstarter and NY Angels. The finalists worked with Todd Barrish, President of Indicate Media, on their pitches for the competition.    

Last year's winners, Kisi (Germany) have opened an office in Brooklyn and made several high-profile installations of their smartphone-controlled access system. 2011-12 winners TaxiTreats/VengoLabs (USA) have raised over $3 million in funding from top-tier NYC investors, taken on 8 full-time employees and 5 contractors, and established operations in Queens and the Bronx to design, assemble and distribute their high-tech vending machines. 2010-11 winners ReFleX (Canada) recently set up offices in New York City.    

“The NYC Next Idea program is the best filter in New York to bring startups to the forefront,” said Brian Shimmerlik, CEO and co-founder of TaxiTreats/VengoLabs. “Vengo turned the Next Idea prize money into a prototype, that prototype into a Seed Round, and now, with our Series A complete, we have the capital to start scaling. The NYC Next Idea program drastically altered Vengo's trajectory.”  

The NYC Next Idea competition is part of the de Blasio administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and create jobs in a variety of sectors, and promote trade, investment and interaction between New York City and the global economy. A network of 15 business incubators have launched or are forthcoming around the City to provide low-cost office space, training and networking opportunities to over 500 companies. The City also offers a number of programs to assist companies, such as NYC Venture Fellows, a highly selective, year-long fellowship program designed to help the next generation of global entrepreneurs succeed in the City, and Take the H.E.L.M., a competition which encourages creative and innovative businesses to open or expand an existing office in Lower Manhattan.  



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.

About Columbia Engineering  

Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, founded in 1864, offers programs in nine departments to both undergraduate and graduate students. With facilities specifically designed and equipped to meet the laboratory and research needs of faculty and students, Columbia Engineering is home to NSF-NIH funded centers in genomic science, molecular nanostructures, materials science, and energy, as well as one of the world’s leading programs in financial engineering. These interdisciplinary centers are leading the way in their respective fields while individual groups of engineers and scientists collaborate to solve some of modern society’s more difficult challenges.


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