Community Resiliency, Environment

Nos Quedamos Awarded NYU Urban Future Prize

The Urban Future Prize Competition showcases the world’s most revolutionary cleantech innovations, and this week, the New York University Tandon School of Engineering announced the winners at the 2021 Urban Future Summit, held online by the Urban Future Lab – New York City’s longest-running cleantech incubator program, which is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). 

Participants in the Urban Future Prize Competition were challenged to address climate change by developing 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 such innovations. For the first time ever, local organizations focused on climate justice submitted proposals for an additional prize that showcased transformative impacts.

The event and prizes were funded by The New York Community Trust (NYCT), with additional prize funding from Carrier and 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 Future Vision Prize, sponsored by The New York Community Trust was Remora. Remora has created a low cost, bolt on device that captures the carbon emissions from a semi truck. They sell the captured carbon dioxide to concrete producers and other end users, helping trucking companies earn new revenue while meeting their climate commitments. 
  • The winner of the Future Environments Prize, sponsored by The New York Community Trust and Carrier was Shifted Energy. Shifted Energy develops and deploys industry-leading distributed energy resource aggregation software and IoT-connected load controls to help utilities create and rapidly scale demand-side management programs.

“We love New Yorkʻs vision on a cleaner, greener and more socially conscious energy transition,” said Forest Frizzell, CEO & Co-founder of Shifted Energy. “We believe Shifted Energy can play a role in addressing not only
critical demand-side management needs, but lending our experience
building programs that can scale in every community.”

“We’re thrilled to be piloting our carbon capture device for semi-trucks in New York with one of our very first customers,” said Paul Gross, co-founder and CEO of Remora. “The Future Vision Prize will help us get more devices on more trucks so that we can capture even more carbon dioxide. New York’s leadership on carbon capture and carbontech is a game-changer, and we’re honored to be part of that work.”

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 companies have raised more than $895 million in follow-on funding, and have a survival rate of 88% since the program’s inception in 2009.

Competition jurors included Lila Preston, Partner, Head of Growth Equity, at Generation Investment Management; Sameer Reddy, Partner at Energy Impact Partners; and Daniel Hullah, climatech investor and advisor to UFL.

  • The winner of the Future Impact Prize, sponsored by MUFG and The New York Community Trust, was Nos Quedamos/WE STAY, a South Bronx-based community development corporation with decades-long expertise in advocating for climate justice. 

Nos Quedamos/WE STAY created a plan to support entrepreneurial climate justice solutions in their community. Nos Quedamos/WE STAY took home the grand prize of $50,000; two other finalists were awarded $5,000 for their respective submissions – Concrete Green/ Mothers on the Move and the Nehemiah Economic Development, Inc. The Future Impact Prize signals the beginning of a new awareness on the part of the Urban Future Lab to the issues of Climate Justice and is a significant step towards increasing the diversity of founders at the Urban Future Lab.

“The NYU Tandon Urban Future Lab grant will directly support our work to cultivate a new generation of youth community leaders who are prepared to advocate for development that brings the benefits of CleanTech to bear on the social, economic, and political prospects,” said Jessica Clemente, CEO & President of Nos Quedamos. ”Our Youth Leaders will have access to a world of CleanTech expertise, and advice on how new advances can be integrated into their own work at NQ and on a community scale, how residents can best advocate for the benefits these CleanTech advances could bring to their communities, and how young people from these deeply impacted communities can enter into the green careers spurred by these new sectors and participate in the new green economy.”

The Future Impact Prize winner was determined with help from the Urban Future Lab’s Climate Justice Advisors, which included Lisa F. Garcia, Director of Fix, the Climate Solutions Lab at Grist Magazine; Rosa Mendez, Former Director at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation; and Nicole Sitaraman, Vice President, Strategic Engagement at Sustainable Capital Advisors. 

“Cities need to reinvent themselves in the face of challenges such as accelerating climate change,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, The New York Community Trust’s Program Officer for the Environment, “The Trust is proud to support the Urban Future Prize Competition, which is lifting up the game-changing ideas and approaches that we so desperately need at this critical moment.”

“At MUFG Americas, we know that our business is intrinsically linked to the sustainability of our surrounding environment and society. The innovative work the Urban Future Lab is leading is quickly making an impact in the clean energy economy by focusing on technologies and business models that will help cities solve the challenges of climate change,” said Tobi Petrocelli, Head of the Sustainable Business Office, MUFG Americas. “By engaging a broad and diverse range of entrepreneurs, we’re confident that we’ll see real, tangible solutions materialize, creating climate solutions by and for these communities.”

“Carrier is dedicated to combating climate change with ambitious 2030 environmental, social and governance goals that include achieving carbon and water neutral operations and reducing our customers’ carbon footprint by more than 1 gigaton. Part of our commitment includes promoting sustainability through education, partnerships and support of
programs like the Future Environment Prize,” said Claus Daniel, Senior Technical Fellow for Sustainability, Innovation & Technology, Carrier. “We look forward to seeing great things from the finalists and winners. Together, we can achieve our climate goals.” 

NYSERDA Senior Vice President for Strategy and Market Development, Janet Joseph said, “Together we can advance climate justice and energy equity as we reach for economy-wide decarbonization to help New York State meet its nation-leading climate and clean energy goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Urban Future Prize advances the innovative solutions and latest technologies needed to electrify buildings, boost clean transportation and lead energy efficiency measures that create healthier spaces and stronger communities for all New Yorkers while reducing the impact of climate change.”

In order to address the climate challenge, we will need innovative technology, new business models, and improved financial
and policy mechanisms, and we must do the work equitably,” said Pat Sapinsley, Managing Director of Cleantech Initiatives, NYU Tandon Future Labs. “Thanks to NYSERDA, New York Community Trust, MUFG Union Bank and Carrier, we are able to nurture enormous talent, both in our start up applicant pool and in our Climate Justice partners. As the world awakens to the horrible human and economic risk of doing nothing, there has been a major uptick worldwide in both policy and funding. If we all take action, we can keep catastrophic climate impacts from worsening.”

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 a 88% survival rate of incubated startups which have now raised more than $895M 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.

By Edwin Pagán

Edwin Pagán is the Director of Communications and Media for WE STAY/Nos Quedamos, as well as the webmaster for nosquedamos.org

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