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New Clean Tech Incubator to Open at NYU-Poly

For years, NYU-Poly’s incubator system has been one of the most vibrant and forward-thinking in the country, but this fall, it’s set to become even more so. That’s when the New York Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) moves to its new home at the aptly named Urban Future Lab on the NYU-Poly campus at MetroTech Center.

The Urban Future Lab will have ample room for up to 20 start-up firms as well as a 2,000-square-foot exhibition space where tenants and others can showcase new technology. It will also house an area dedicated to panel discussions, classes, and other opportunities for learning —including some programming from NYU-Poly’s own Center for K-12 STEM Education.

“Having enough room to allow numerous people to congregate, learning together, and brainstorming will foster some great initiatives,” said Ryan Fant, co-founder of Keen Home, a developer of environmentally sensitive home-automation products which will be located in the incubator.

Companies are also excited about new opportunities to exhibit technology at the space, which will be accessible to the public and feature a rotating series of displays.

“That is going to provide my company with great exposure,” said Marshall Cox, co-founder of Radiator Labs, an ACRE tenant that has developed a device that allows apartment dwellers to independently control the heat from their radiators, thereby saving energy and increasing comfort levels. He is particularly excited about the chance to exhibit his technology at the space, which will be accessible to the public and feature a rotating series of displays. “The atmosphere at ACRE has always been accommodating, supportive and collaborative, but the new facility will offer even more.”

ACRE had been seeded in 2009 by a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and now those agencies are joined by major sponsor National Grid, which serves some 1.5 million utility customers throughout New York.

Those customers – and anyone else who lives in an urban area – will  undoubtedly benefit from the work being done by the start-ups in the new incubator space, whose other tenants include EcoLogic Solutions, which manufactures and distributes environmentally preferable institutional cleaning products; Enertiv, which creates and installs real-time energy monitoring systems and software; and Bandwagon, the creators of an easy-to-use ride-sharing app.

“The Urban Future Lab presents a terrific opportunity for Poly students and faculty to be at the forefront of engineering a more livable New York City,” Micah Kotch, Poly’s Director of Incubator Initiatives, said. “And we expect New York City, with its one million buildings, to help us drive innovation on a massive scale.”

Kurt Becker, the Associate Provost for Research and Technology Initiatives at NYU-Poly, explained that the city is an auspicious place to run a clean-tech incubator like the Urban Future Lab. “Mayor Bloomberg has been very amenable to start-up culture, and he is a big booster of clean technology in particular,” he said.

Soon, that culture may be spreading around the globe; there has already been great interest from several international companies that would like to make the Urban Future Lab their home base.