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Press Release

NYCEDC Launches Urbantech NYC to Support Companies Building Smart And Sustainable Cities

Feb 16 2016

City of New York to Bring 100,000 Square Feet of Space, Prototyping Equipment, and Shared Resources to Two Locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced 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. Companies interested in these programs can learn more and apply at

“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 just 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.”

“Urbantech NYC is another prime example of our commitment to creating a smart, equitable, 10and sustainable city,” said Minerva Tantoco, Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York. “The Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation is thrilled to partner with NYCEDC to help bring cutting-edge, new technology – and the opportunities that come with it – to all New Yorkers.”

The New York State Regional Economic Development Council has 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 ten 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 80x50 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.

"A city like New York is a laboratory for Urban Tech and our partnership with EDC sets the stage for supporting high potential companies developing urban technologies with the tools and diverse community of leading edge designers, engineers and entrepreneurs developing connected and hardware-centric enterprises at New Lab," said Scott Cohen, Co-founder of New Lab.

"This project provides an unprecedented opportunity for New York City to make a steep change in shaping a better world, one in which sustainable design approaches and technologies are fully integrated into the built environment," said Raj Patel, Principal of ARUP.

Located adjacent to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, Grand Central Tech is a leading 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."

“As we continue to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft is proud to support the NYCEDC’s partnership with Grand Central Tech and the Brooklyn Navy Yard to build out the innovation infrastructure of New York City,” said John Paul Farmer, Microsoft Director of Tech and Civic Innovation. “Urban Tech NYC promises to improve city life, nurture vibrant businesses, fuel 21st century jobs, and welcome a more diverse cross-section of citizens into the tech sector.

As a key part of Urbantech NYC, NYCEDC continues to support the Urban Future Lab, the City’s flagship center for early-stage cleantech and smart cities startups. Operated by the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, this 10,000 square foot facility houses the ACRE incubator, currently home to 15 companies in Downtown Brooklyn. To date, 16 companies have graduated from the incubator, creating over 200 jobs.

“We are delighted that NYCEDC’s latest program continues to support the expansion of the cleantech and smart city infrastructure that was started 6 years ago with the City’s investment in NYU Tandon School of Engineering Incubator at Varick Street,” said Kurt Becker, NYU Tandon School of Engineering Vice Dean for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. “As our companies get more and more successful they need more space. While we offer useful services to our companies— mentors, legal, graphics, accounting, and networking—this latest program will help provide the much- needed expansion space that our successful start-ups require as they transition from our incubator into step-out space."

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.

“Brooklyn is plugged into high-tech manufacturing, providing exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs. New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will contribute to an economy defined by innovation, in which we are creating goods and services for an international market that recognizes the ‘Brooklyn brand’ as the standard of excellence in product design, prototyping, and fabrication," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. "I am proud to leverage my office’s capital budget to support efforts like these that grow high-quality local jobs.”

"The success of Grand Central Tech and similar ventures like Civic Hall across our borough shows Manhattan can lead the nation in urban tech, nurturing innovations that solve complex urban problems and help make our citizens' lives better. The addition of a new Urban Tech Growth Hub will only further New York's role as an leader in this growing field," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "In addition to the immeasurable good that urban tech has brought to leveraging data for the betterment of our communities, this sector has created good jobs and rewarding careers for thousands of New Yorkers."

“Innovation is at the heart of New York City’s identity. By fostering and facilitating the development of exciting new urban technologies right here in our neighborhoods, we can make our city cleaner, more efficient, and more sustainable while providing high-quality jobs for New Yorkers," said Council Member Stephen Levin. "Urbantech NYC will bring New York’s growing community of entrepreneurs and innovators into the task of marshaling technology to solve complex urban challenges and improve our city for all New Yorkers.”

"As the first fund focused on startups that make city life better, we've witnessed first hand, New York City's leadership role in Urbantech," said Shaun Abrahamson, Founder of Urban.US. "Today 10 of our 19 investments are here and we believe these new EDC programs and partnerships will further cement NYC as the leading center for Urbantech startups."

"The Urbantech NYC program demonstrates New York City's continued commitment to green economic growth, a key priority for the C40 network," said James Alexander, Director of Finance & Economic Development Initiatives for C40. "The program also represents an innovative solution to the city’s challenges that boasts the added benefit of creating jobs for the local economy. We hope that this program will inspire city leaders throughout the world to provide critical support to businesses that help build a stronger, more sustainable economy."

“Our collaboration with Urbantech NYC through New Lab will directly serve our commitment to alternative educational initiatives embedded in New York City’s environment, and will pave the way for New York City’s next wave of talented, qualified, homegrown engineers and designers,” said Sidi Berry, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering & Industrial Design at CUNY City Tech.

“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.”

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.