Incubating innovation.


Congratulations to our winners: Watchtower Robotics and Amperon!



Past prize winners are all startups boldly tackling challenges to our urban infrastructure and climate change. We’ve awarded seven prizes and helped these companies achieve accelerated growth in their respective industries. They’ve received help fundraising, getting large commercial contracts, building out their teams, and expanding to new markets. Look out for these exciting startups as they emerge as leaders in cleantech.



Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2019

Amperon provides real time load forecasts and analytics based on high-resolution smart meter data for energy suppliers and utilities. They use this data to help suppliers and utilities adapt to rapidly changing grid conditions as they operate their businesses. Amperon currently focuses on grid scale load forecasting for retail energy providers and utilities; they will soon move into premise-by-premise demand forecasting to enable more advanced applications around distributed energy storage operations, renewables firming, peak shaving, and demand response.

Find out more about Amperon.


Watchtower Robotics

Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2019

Lost water due to undetected leaks in our industry is a huge problem nationwide. Every utility has a lost water problem; some just don't admit that they do,” expressed a pilot customer, Bruce Cunningham, General Manager of South Harrison Water Corporation. Watchtower is revolutionizing leak detection in the water industry. We developed a patented robot that combines soft robotics technologies and in-pipe leak detection techniques. By inserting it into one fire hydrant and retrieving it from another downstream, our robot creates an interactive 3-D map of the pipe network and locates tiny leaks, all in any pipe material.

Find out more about Watchtower Robotics.



Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2018

Avvir takes the guesswork out of construction inspections. High quality inspections measure progress to determine who gets paid when, and catch mistakes early to reduce the cost of rework. Annually, stakeholders lose $1.8 trillion on costs that could be prevented through better visibility into the state of construction. Other solutions require companies to train their own experts, but getting executive reports with Avvir is as simple as walking around a building. Avvir provides automated analysis, visualization, and detailed reporting. Avvir’s clients get same-day insights into their projects, including progress monitoring and defect detection.

Find out more about Avvir.



Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2018

Dollaride is a ride-sharing service connecting drivers to people living in transit deserts. The company provides a digital platform and private mass-transit operating framework to communities in need of "last mile" access to public transit. For drivers and passengers, Dollaride's mobile app supports cash and credit card payments. For owner-operators, Dollaride provides a fleet management web application to help owners monitor their operations and cash-flow with real-time data. In NYC, Dollaride supports a loyal ridership of 125,000 daily passengers, and aims to improve upon the existing "dollar van" models with a new layer of digital intelligence.

Find out more about Dollaride.



Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2018

simuwatt allows operators, experts, and utilities to simply recognize bankable, credible energy efficiency savings in commercial buildings. simuwatt's analytics and reporting platform is built off of the most advanced data modeling technologies available and offers a 50+% reduction in cost and time over current practices. simuwatt is commercially available and in use by the GSA, City of New York, Wells Fargo, DNV-GL, and other key brands in energy efficiency.

Find out more about simuwatt.



Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2016

Imagine an "Expedia" for windows and doors. Fentrend is building the first intelligent marketplace for the massive, totally undisrupted market for windows and doors, which totals $26.5B in the US alone. Using Fentrend saves time, headaches, and money for the specifier, the builder, and the manufacturer. Architects know that specifying energy efficient windows and doors is a time consuming process of specification, which can take weeks, and requires engaging with untold counts of catalogs and salesmen. Manufacturers must pay 10% to salesmen, but only 5% to Fentrend. Using data and proprietary algorithms, Fentrend is replacing the current laborious and haphazard sourcing process with efficiency and transparency, while opening a new, low-cost sales channel for suppliers.

Find out more about Fentrend.



Urban Future Prize Competition Winner, 2016

Tagup offers manufacturers, value added resellers, and end users the means to quickly and effectively integrate their equipment to the Internet, enabling them to monitor asset performance remotely. Tagup’s patent-pending analytics platform can reduce unplanned downtime on equipment, such as power transformers, by as much as 70%.

Find out more about Tagup.



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
The Urban Future Lab has been instrumental in helping me build Dollaride as a business and mobility service. Besides office space at ACRE, I’ve received help/guidance in structuring our pilot programs and intros to potential investors and partners. The UFL is a true advocate for Dollaride’s success.
— Su Sanni | Founder, Dollaride

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