Tomorrow’s world-changing startups, grown in NYC




The Urban Future Competition debuts the world’s most revolutionary smart mobility, smart city, and smart grid technologies by bringing the brightest entrepreneurs together with mission-driven investors, policy leaders, and corporate sponsors for a prestigious pitch competition in NYC. Thanks to BP, New York Community Trust (NYCT) and NYSERDA, we are able to offer each of three winners a $50,000 cash prize and admission into the ACRE incubator at UFL, NYC’s longest running cleantech incubator program.

New York's supportive state and city governments, flourishing tech sector, and massive scale make it the #2 startup ecosystem in the world. The city has become the ideal laboratory for creating sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Apply today to build a better tomorrow.





In addition to the cash prize and admittance to the internationally acclaimed ACRE incubator, winners of the competition will gain access to both BP’s and ACRE’s community of experts who will help to scale their businesses and accelerate their paths to success.

ACRE companies have raised more than $340 million in follow on funding and have a survival rate of >90% since the program’s inception in 2009.


Winners receive:



$50,000 cash prize with zero-equity stake



Entrance into NY’s premier cleantech incubator



Global recognition and promotional media opportunities



Partnership opportunities with leading industry corporate or public agencies


Past Winners

  • “Since winning the competition and joining ACRE, Fentrend received $5.5M in client projects, established a strategic partnership with the largest window contracting company in NYC, and saw a 45% increase in revenue.”
    — Andy Huh, Co-founder, Fentrend

  • “ACRE and the Urban Future Competition provided us a meaningful prize award and the support needed to get our business off the ground at an early stage. The ACRE team was also instrumental in identifying a project opportunity with NYSERDA and Con Edison. The community and overall support is terrific.”
    — Jon Garrity, Co-founder, Tagup

  • “We have found ACRE to be the best possible entry that Highview could have made into the United States. The team has amplified our modest capabilities and provided invaluable insight. From day one we have been intimately connected to the US CleanTech ecosystem.”
    — Richard Riley, Business Development Manager, Highview Power Storage



Eligible Startups

Four finalists will be selected per track to pitch to an esteemed panel of industry experts and investors.


Track 1 - BP Smart Mobility Prize

Companies driving next generation transportation technologies, such as vehicle electrification, autonomous vehicles, and mobility-as-a-service.

Technologies of interest to BP include but are not limited to: [CLICK "+" BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION]

[ Open All | Close All ]

  • Electric Vehicles +
  • EV, infrastructure solutions, charging/fast-charging/ultra-fast charging
  • Battery +
  • Battery management system, assets life cycle optimization during 1st, 2nd, 3rd use through to decommissioning
  • Digital Mobility +
  • AI enabled solution, connected car, fleet optimization
  • Sustainable Lubricants +
  • New feedstocks (plant/water), waste management, chemical sensors for maintenance
  • Alternative Fuel +
  • Alternative fuel technologies and associated infrastructure
  • Freight and Logistics +
  • Optimization solutions including last mile delivery


    Track 2 - NYCT Smart City Prize

    Companies creating healthier and more resource-efficient cities through next generation innovations in urban technologies.

    • Air Quality and Comfort
    • Big Data and Analytics
    • Machine Learning and AI
    • Real Estate Technology

    2811104311_bdb79b24d1_o copy.jpg

    Track 3 - NYCT Smart Grid Prize

    Companies that reduce emissions through both business model and energy innovation and support the next generation energy system. 

    • Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
    • Energy Monitoring or Controls
    • Battery Storage
    • Energy Efficiency
    • Energy Blockchain



    Learn More

    Sign up for announcements about the competition or find out more by emailing Joe Silver, Program Manager, at




    Submit Application

    Applications must be submitted via GUST no later than Friday, December 1, 2017, at 4:00 pm EST. Emailed and late entries will not be considered.

    Semifinalists Will Be Interviewed

    Once selected, semifinalists will be asked to complete an interview that can be conducted virtually and will be subject to further diligence beyond the submitted application materials by the applicant review committee.

    Finalists Attend Pitch Showcase

    If selected for the finals, applicants must designate one person from their team to attend the pitch showcase on February 22, 2018, in NYC. Finalists will be informed no later than January 31, 2018.

    Pitch-Coaching Sessions

    Finalists receive a minimum of two sessions of pro bono pitch coaching by industry professionals in preparation for the final pitch.

    As a Winner, You Agree To . . .

    As a condition of the award, companies must commit to move at least one full-time employee to the ACRE incubator at the Urban Future Lab in Downtown Brooklyn. Relocation costs are not covered. Prizes will be administered in two tranches over the course of a minimum six-month incubation period based on program milestones created by  ACRE staff and agreed upon by the awardee.





    Contact Cielo Lutino, Communications Manager, at



    @UrbanFutureLab @PatSap2 lets cat out of the bag: The #UrbanFutureNYC competition is back! $50k ea for #cleantech #startups. Apply!

    @nycacre #UrbanFutureNYC is back! Apply in #smartcity, #smartmobility or #smartgrid categories to win $50k & to join ACRE.

    @1776NY @UrbanFutureLab’s #UrbanFutureNYC now open! Win $50k for your smart #mobility, #smartgrid or #smartcity #startup.


    Competition Sponsor