Last month, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation announced that it will open a new clean tech incubator in a 10,000-square-foot space on the 19th floor of Forest City Ratner’s 15 MetroTech. Located within the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, the Clean Technology Entrepreneur Center will support up to twenty startup companies focused on solving urban challenges related to energy efficiency, sustainability, climate adaptation, and resilience.
NYCEDC will provide $750,000 in seed funding to CTEC over the next two years and jointly operate the space with NYU’s Polytechnic Institute, which was selected through a competitive RFP process that opened back in January. In addition to offices and co-working space, CTEC will also include a 2000-square-foot demonstration center for firms to showcase their products and technologies. Polytech expanded into 120,000 square feet at 15 MetroTech early last year.
“While clean technology has historically been dominated by capital-intensive, manufacturing-led segments, technology and market trends are creating a new segment of the market. ‘Green 2.0’ represents digitally-enabled products and services that use information, data and technology to address environmental, energy and resource constraints. Leveraging the City’s leadership in software, finance, analytics and media, the Center will support the growth of next-generation clean technology businesses, helping make New York City a leader within this fast-growing segment,” NYCEDC said in a press release.
CTEC’s prospects will only be enhanced by the plans to continue growing the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, as well as the city’s overall attitudes towards developing its technology and engineering sectors generally. Indeed, CTEC is expected to play an important role in shaping the future of New York City’s green building industry: it will be part of “Green NYC 2025,” NYCEDC’s initiative to identify opportunities to grow green technologies and leveraging them for future economic growth across the five boroughs. “We think there is a lot of opportunity for wealth creation and job creation at the intersection of energy, building infrastructures, software and data analytics,” Micah Kotch, director of innovation and entrepreneurship for NYU-Poly, recently told the Daily News.
There are important reasons to be excited about CTEC and NYCEDC’s overall charge into the “Green 2.0″ green building space. Along with NYU-Poly, the organization has a strong record developing startup incubators across New York City. Three other efforts similar to CTEC in scale and scope – in Hudson Square and Dumbo – have since 2009 generated $250 million in economic activity and created nearly 1000 jobs. Thirty-five of the start-up companies these spaces have hosted have moved on to larger spaces within the city, and five have been acquisitions by larger firms, fetching over $50 million in total purchase prices. With the flood of engineering and technical talent that the city continues to attract, and the promise of much more on the horizon, it’s not unreasonable to expect big new ideas from CTEC for New York City’s green building and real estate industries.