What’s your company’s mission, and how did it come to be?
I run a mission-driven sustainable business incubator and educational facility, the Urban Future Lab (UFL) and ACRE incubator. We are part of NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. We are New York City’s hub for smart cities, smart grid, and clean energy. We grow a clean energy economy. At UFL, we host educational and policy events and nurture companies in our incubator that have new business models or new technologies for the 21st-century grid and the 21st-century city. Our mission is to combat carbon emissions and climate change through the three tools of education, policy, and business incubation. Encouraging engineers to become a big part of the solution to climate change is a must.
Tell us about a project you’re currently developing or recently launched. How is it impacting the tech industry and New York City at large?
We are currently incubating 16 cleantech companies (current portfolio available here). Companies accepted into the incubator program benefit from its modern shared office space located in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, a roster of mentors and advisors, access to an extensive network of industry contacts, and custom-tailored business support services. ACRE attracts the top talent in cleantech entrepreneurship and helps them build leading companies. In 2015 alone, ACRE companies have gone on to raise over $21 million in capital, generate over $5.8 million in revenue, and create an estimated 34 new jobs.
These companies cover a broad range of industries including solar financing and design, smart grid technologies, and building efficiency solutions. ACRE has made a tremendous impact in helping companies achieve breakthrough financial success and creating brand new jobs—all in the green economy.
What makes New York an ideal home for the tech industry?
New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is the most significant rethinking of the grid since the original Edison centralized utility grid, which is an antiquated system riddled with inefficiencies. REV seeks to democratize the grid by integrating distributed generation and energy storage through software-dominated operating systems and new equipment that allows for customer participation, resilience, and elasticity. At ACRE, we are developing the market tools needed to realize REV’s ambitions. Our unique location in REV’s territory makes us the test bed for innovative technologies and business models needed to make REV succeed.
Follow ACRE on Twitter: @nycacre