BROOKLYN, New York, – The Urban Future Prize Competition showcases the world’s most revolutionary cleantech innovations, and in early October, the Urban Future Lab at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering announced the winners at the 2022 Urban Future Summit. The Summit was hosted in-person by the Urban Future Lab – home to New York City’s longest-running cleantech incubator program, ACRE, which is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). New York’s forward-thinking state and city governments, thriving tech sector, and massive scale make it one of the top startup cleantech economies in the world, and the winners are joining a portfolio of market-ready companies making our cities, our grid, and our transportation sectors smarter, cleaner, and more equitable. ACRE has supported companies who have raised more than $1.3B in private funds. For every $1 the State of New York has invested into the ACRE program, the program’s companies raised $270 in the private markets, bringing over 1,000 clean energy jobs to New York State.
Participants in the Urban Future Prize Competition are companies addressing climate change with productive and equitable solutions for smart cities; utility solutions for a digital, decentralized, and decarbonized grid; renewable energy sources; green transportation methods; ways to boost the energy efficiency of buildings; waste management solutions leading to a circular economy; and other innovations.
The event and prizes were funded by The New York Community Trust (NYCT), with an additional $50,000 Climate Justice award funded by MUFG. Each of the two startup winners were awarded a $50,000 cash prize and admission into the ACRE incubator at the Urban Future Lab.
- The winner of the 2022 Future Environments Prize was Olokun Minerals. Olokun Minerals extracts valuable metals and minerals from salty, mineral-rich wastewater streams and creates products that can be used in concrete to build infrastructure, fertilizers for agriculture, and batteries for electronics and vehicles.
- The winner of the 2022 Future Vision Prize was LimeLoop. LimeLoop’s smart shipping platform combines reusable packaging and a simple sensor, creating a lens into the e-commerce experience from point of order to return. This provides retailers with a powerful platform to effectively understand and communicate with their customers; while providing the insights necessary to inform ESG and supply chain decisions.
- Nos Quedamos/WE STAY, a South Bronx-based community development corporation with decades-long expertise in advocating for climate justice, and winners of the 2021 Urban Future Prize Competition Future Impact Prize, were the recipients of a $50,000 Climate Justice Award, sponsored by MUFG. This additional award signals the Urban Future Lab’s continued dedication to climate justice in frontline communities.
Lacey Reddix, Founder and CEO of Olokun Minerals said: “It is an honor to see Olokun Minerals win the Future Environments Prize at this year’s Urban Future Prize Competition. This is validation that the ambitious goals we set for ourselves and our companies are worth pursuing.”
Chantal Emmanuel, CTO and Co-Founder of LimeLoop said: “As we head into the holiday season, we’re about to once again be confronted by one of our ever-growing waste and emissions generators, e-commerce shipping. Winning the Future Vision Prize brings LimeLoop one step closer to delivering a world without single-use packaging. The prize will support our buildout of the logistics infrastructure necessary to accelerate the scale of reusable smart packaging, speeding up when you can expect to find a LimeLoop package on a doorstep near you.”
“It has been a pleasure partnering with Urban Future Lab on our Resiliency HUB project during the past year,” said Carmen Vázquez, Community Organizer at Nos Quedamos. “We are grateful for the donation by MUFG which will support this continued work and bring this vision one step closer to fruition. Urban Future Lab’s support has not only provided financial and technical assistance, but also a validation of the long-term work we’re doing in the South Bronx for the benefit of its residents.”
Competition jurors included Sara Chamberlain, Managing Director at Energy Foundry; Régine Clément, President and CEO at CREO Syndicate; Sameer Reddy, Partner at Energy Impact Partners; and Kyle Teamey, Partner at Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
“There will be no ‘silver bullet’ solution to the climate crisis, we will need to develop and deploy a broad range of innovative technologies and approaches as quickly as possible,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, the New York Community Trust’s program officer for the environment, “This prize competition never fails to attract the kinds of visionary entrepreneurs advancing practical solutions that cities need to respond to this growing challenge.”
“MUFG is thrilled to sponsor the Urban Future Lab’s Climate Justice Award, given to Nos Quedamos again this year to continue its long-term work building youth leadership and climate resilience,” said Beth Gilroy, Director of Environmental & Sustainability Management at MUFG Global Corporate & Investment Bank. “Community development work takes time because it’s all about collaboration and finding a way forward with compassion for all. Congratulations to Nos Quedamos on this prestigious award.”
John Lochner, NYSERDA Vice President of Innovation said, “Congratulations to the competition winners for this recognition, and for their contributions to the state’s climate tech ecosystem which are resulting in healthier, more resilient communities. Forward-thinking products like theirs are bringing innovative solutions to fruition that can help companies across the state incorporate more sustainable and just approaches into their work as part of New York’s growing green economy.”
Pat Sapinsley, Managing Director of Cleantech Initiatives at the Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon said: “Our mission is to help young climatetech companies achieve scale and deploy their technologies as widely as possible, to lessen further climate impacts. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act together with New York State’s forward-looking policies puts us on a good path forward. We hope that our work can help to build a new clean economy in New York State. Putting over $1B into the local economy is a terrific start.”
About Urban Future Lab
Urban Future Lab (UFL) provides unmatched access to strategic advisement, introductions to industry stakeholders, marketing and branding support, investor networks, and access to a community of like-minded founders. UFL is leading the way to a more sustainable world by connecting people, capital, and purpose to advance market-ready solutions to address climate change. Our flagship program is ACRE, New York City’s premier business incubator for cleantech and smart city startups, and is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. It has been supporting market-ready solutions to climate change since 2009, boasting an 88% survival rate of incubated startups, which have now raised more than $1.3B from the private markets. The UFL is part of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and is located in Downtown Brooklyn. For more information, please visit ufl.nyc or find us on Twitter.
About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu.