The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has launched UrbanTech NYC, a comprehensive program to help entrepreneurs and innovators address New York City’s most pressing urban challenges in sectors such as energy, waste, transportation, agriculture and water.
In partnership with New Lab and Grand Central Tech, NYCEDC has committed up to $7.2 million to create two Urban Technology Growth Hubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan, which will open in the summer of 2016. The Hubs will activate approximately 100,000 square feet of flexible and affordable space, as well as provide dedicated resources for fast-growing cleantech and smart cities companies that have outgrown business incubators, accelerators and other early-stage programs. NYCEDC also continues to provide space and resources to early-stage cleantech and smart cities through the Urban Future Lab, which houses the ACRE incubator run by the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
“Climate change represents one of the greatest challenges to our city, which is why we’ve committed to an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “To move us toward our goals, we’ll need the City’s brightest minds and ideas, which is why UrbanTech NYC is so important. By providing our most talented visionaries with the space and resources they need to grow, we’re acting on our commitments to entrepreneurs, to innovation, and to a smarter and more equitable New York.”
“The rapid growth of our urban innovation sector demonstrates that building a sustainable, resilient city isn’t just smart planning – it’s smart economics,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “The initiatives in UrbanTech NYC build upon the solid foundation provided by the Urban Future Lab, the Center for Urban Science and Progress, and the sustainability work currently being carried out throughout the City. The program will provide the resources that entrepreneurs need to build resiliency into the DNA of our City’s economy.”
As a network of programs, UrbanTech NYC provides resources beyond office space. The Hub @ New Lab and the Hub @ Grand Central Tech will offer access to prototyping and testing equipment, local training programs, sector specific business workshops, mentorship and support. Additionally, UrbanTech NYC will partner with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation to provide opportunities for companies to pilot and demonstrate their innovative technologies across the city.
“We are proud to offer a place and platform for inciting new paradigms in urban technology advances at the Hub @ New Lab,” said David Belt, Co-founder of New Lab. “By building a home for innovators in the built environment, green tech, and sustainability, we will allow companies to work together to rethink, redesign, and implement products that enrich our urban lives.”
“We are thrilled to partner with NYCEDC to welcome the next generation of entrepreneurs tackling the problems facing cities,” said Matthew Harrigan, Co-founder and Managing Director of Grand Central Tech. “We are honored to provide a space for today’s visionaries to turn their great ideas into tangible solutions for New York City.”
The New York State Regional Economic Development Council also recently awarded NYCEDC $750,000 in funding to build a Smart Cities Innovation Center in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, further expanding the resources available to growing companies seeking to commercialize innovative solutions to urban challenges. UrbanTech NYC could support up to 3,200 jobs over the next 10 years, further establishing New York City as a global leader in sustainable urban innovation.
“The Smart Cities Innovation Center is the centerpiece of the New York City Regional Economic Development Council’s proposed Global ‘Smart Cities’ Industry Hub,” said Howard Zemsky, President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development. “The center will offer opportunities for collaboration, access to specialized equipment, and mentoring for growing companies seeking to monetize innovative solutions to challenges facing 21st Century cities. The Innovation Center will also help up-and-coming advanced manufacturers expand export activity through Governor Cuomo’s Global NY program.”
UrbanTech NYC builds upon Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC vision, making the city more sustainable and resilient while promoting equity and economic growth for all New Yorkers. As part of the One City: Built to Last plan, the Hubs will ensure that local companies are positioned to compete for private and public investment dedicated to making the city’s built environment and infrastructure more efficient, including reducing New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.
“The talent that is innovating the cleantech solutions to help us reach our 80×50 goals should be supported through the critical stages between garage and full-fledged operations,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “It’s important to New York City to keep that talent here, where it can keep innovating and providing the green jobs of the future. UrbanTech NYC will be invaluable to help us do that.”
Located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New Lab will foster innovation in design, prototyping, and new manufacturing. A former ship-building facility will be transformed into an 84,000-square-foot, high-tech design and prototyping center that will become a national model for sustainable industrial parks. The Hub @ New Lab will provide office, development, manufacturing and display space for hardware-focused urban technology companies, and will be operated by New Lab with support from the New York Regional Economic Development Council, New York City Council, and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, partnerships with Autodesk and CUNY City Tech, and in collaboration with Arup.
Located adjacent to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, Grand Central Tech is a technology accelerator designed to support startups and entrepreneurial ambition by leveraging the city’s competitive advantages to build a diverse and inclusive culture of innovation. The Hub @ GCT will provide 50,000 square feet of office space, including a multi-purpose innovation center for businesses creating software-enabled technologies, products and solutions to urban challenges. Grand Central Tech will operate the Hub with the support of key partners including Milstein Properties, which also runs the tech investment firm Circle Ventures, Microsoft, and Cornell Tech. The Hub will join the growing tech community at 335 Madison, including the GCT accelerator and the Build Grand Central co-working space.
“New York has long been the global center of commerce, and the growth in jobs and funding over the last five years for the tech startup ecosystem has only reinforced its position on a national scale as a center of development and innovation,” said Charles Bonello, CoFounder & Managing Director of Grand Central Tech. “Thanks to our partnership with the NYCEDC and the Urban Tech NYC initiative, the Hub @ Grand Central Tech will be able to continue to consolidate these wins and cement 335 Madison Ave as a thriving center for tech and innovation for the very best companies and entrepreneurs.”
“At Milstein Properties, we are committed to and passionate about supporting the NYC tech community,” said Howard Milstein, Chairman and CEO of Milstein Properties. “335 Madison has become a tech magnet in Midtown, with incubators, co-working spaces, and much more. We’re very excited to welcome the Hub @ GCT to the building, providing entrepreneurs with high-quality, flexible, and affordable spaces to grow their companies and build the next great smart cities innovations.”
UrbanTech NYC is pioneering a new approach to provide sector-specific support to growth-stage companies that have expanded beyond the early stage and start-up phases of growth. This program expands upon NYCEDC extensive network of 16 businesses incubators launched to date, which comprise over 160,000 square feet of low-cost space across all five boroughs. Through this network, NYCEDC has helped provide training and growth opportunities to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses across a variety of sectors in New York City. Over 1,000 startup businesses supporting 1,500 jobs have benefited from City-supported incubators, and these companies have raised more than $175 million in venture funding. Some of these startups have already graduated from the use of incubators, opening their doors in market-rate spaces and continuing to expand and create jobs.
“The community of innovators and builders that NYCEDC and its partners are creating provides critical support for young companies bringing new technologies to the market,” said Stephen Gorevan, chairman and co-founder of Honeybee Robotics. “No innovation happens in a vacuum. It takes collaboration between customers, universities, technology enablers and entrepreneurs. As a New Lab member, we are excited by the possibilities for new companies that the UrbanTech NYC program will bring to New York, and for the ideas and technology built here that can solve challenges in cities around the world.”