The Urban Future Prize Competition tracks reflect two areas in which innovation in cleantech is leading the way for wide-scale change: Smart Grid and Smart City.
New York Community Trust Smart Grid Prize
Sponsored by New York Community Trust
Eligible companies are those that reduce emissions through business model or technological innovation and support the next-generation energy system. This includes (but is not limited to):
Data Analytics and Management
Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
Energy Monitoring or Controls
Related Financing Mechanisms
New York Community Trust Smart City Prize
Sponsored by New York Community Trust
Eligible companies are those that create healthier and more resource-efficient cities through next-generation innovations in urban technologies or business model innovations. This includes (but is not limited to):
Air Quality and Comfort
Machine Learning and AI
Real Estate Technology
Building Energy Efficiency
Waste and Water Treatment
Mobility and Transportation
A $50,000 cash prize and admittance to the internationally acclaimed ACRE incubator will be awarded to one winner in each of two categories. Winners of the competition will gain access to ACRE’s community of expert advisors, mentors, and investors who will help to scale their businesses and accelerate their paths to success.
ACRE companies have raised more than $380 million in follow-on funding and have a survival rate of over 90% since the program’s inception in 2009. ACRE companies are also eligible for up to $300,000 in non-dilutive grants.
Our jury is comprised of esteemed leaders in the fields of climate change, clean energy and cleantech investing. Their deep experience bridges the worlds of VC/strategic investing, technological innovation and business model innovation.
Managing Partner, Urban Us
Born in Cape Town, Shaun is a partner at Urban Us, the leading venture fund focused on making city life better invested in startups like One Concern, Starcity, Onewheel, and Rachio. Shaun helped build govWorks, Starmedia, and MediaSentry and funded companies like ZocDoc, Refinery29, Trialpay, and Skycatch. Shaun went to MIT, where he studied Computer Aided Design, and the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, where he wrote his thesis that became Crowdstorm, his first book. Shaun lives in Los Angeles with his wife, artist Andrea Nhuch, and two kids, Max and Oli. If he’s not with his family or working on Urban Us, you might find him voiding a warranty.
Associate Director, Investments, Sidewalk Labs
Mike is an Associate Director of Investments at Sidewalk Labs. Before joining Sidewalk, Mike was a Vice President at Macquarie Bank, where he financed power, clean technology, and other energy companies. Previously, he was an associate at Nereus Capital, a fund investing in sustainable infrastructure in South Asia. Mike began his career at JP Morgan covering biotech and healthcare services companies.
He graduated from Brown University, where he studied economics and philosophy. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, music, and board games.
Director of Demonstration Projects, Customer Energy Solutions, Con Edison
Margarett is Con Edison’s Director of Demonstration Projects in Customer Energy Solutions, which solicits, develops, demonstrates, and scales new ways of doing business. These include customer facing business models for storage, solar, rate design, low and middle income customers, and web portals to connect residential and commercial customers with new energy management tools. Previously, she was Director of R&D at Con Edison.
Margarett graduated from New York City Technical College and from the Cooper Union with a BE in Mechanical Engineering. A licensed Professional Engineer in New York State since 2004, Margarett serves on the Boards of NYBest, Green City Force, and Grid Alternative Tri-State and is Advisor to the Urban Future Lab.
Investment Officer, Closed Loop Partners
Danielle is an Investor with Closed Loop Partners, responsible for leading Closed Loop Ventures - an investment fund focused on early stage innovations in the circular economy.
Prior to Closed Loop Partners, Danielle worked on project finance activities with Invex Infraestructura and Queensland Investment Corporation. Prior to this, she worked with NewWorld Capital Group on a range of growth equity and project finance related activities across environmental opportunities, including clean energy, energy efficiency, waste-to-value, water resources and reclamation, and environmental services.
Danielle earned her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business where she led the GSB Impact Fund, an early stage investing platform for impact-driven companies and her BA from Pomona College.
Partner, Generation Investment Management
Lila Co-Heads Generation’s Growth Equity strategy, helping to scale sustainable solutions businesses. Previously, Lila was a Director of Finance & Development at VolunteerMatch and a consultant for clients such as Save the Children (YouthNoise). Prior to joining VolunteerMatch, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Southern Chile where she worked on community-based forestry and conservation projects. Lila serves as a Board Director for CiBO Technologies, Recyclebank, and Seventh Generation’s Social Mission Board, and a Board Observer for Optoro and Toast.
Lila received a BA in English and Latin American Studies from Stanford University and an MBA from the London Business School. Lila is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and speaks fluent Spanish.
Partner, Energy Impact Partners
Sameer has 9 years of experience in the power and clean-technology sectors in various capacities, which include investing as well as M&A investment banking. Prior to joining EIP, Sameer spent five years at Evercore Partners as a Vice President in the firm’s Power & Utilities M&A practice. While at Evercore, he advised clients on several key M&A transactions totaling over $15 billion in enterprise value. Prior to joining Evercore, Sameer was an analyst at GE Energy Financial Services for three years, focusing on venture capital and renewable energy investing across the Power and Clean Technology sectors. Sameer has a dual degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Florida.
Director of Energy Service Product Development, New York Power Authority
Guy is the Director of Energy Service Product Development at the New York Power Authority, the nation's largest state-owned power organization. Guy has been working in the distributed generation and renewable energy fields for 20 years, primarily with public and private electric utility companies. At his current position at the New York Power Authority, Guy is responsible for the implementation of the company's product development activities related to distributed energy resources. Guy has a BA in Economics and an MS in Mechanical Engineering, both from the University of Massachusetts.
Investor, Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Kyle is an investor and company builder at Breakthrough VC and former investment Principal at In-Q-Tel (IQT). Previously, Kyle was CEO and co-founder of Liquid Light (acquired 2016), a company developing technology to make materials from carbon dioxide. While at Liquid Light, Kyle built the team, raised $25 million to finance operations, closed development agreements with Coca-Cola and BP, co-invented the core technology, and propelled the company to leadership in the CO2 utilization space. He also serves as an Executive in Residence for Columbia Technology Ventures and is an advisor or board member for multiple companies and organizations supporting entrepreneurs.