April 20th, 2011

NYC Bets Big on Cleantech: An Interview with the Director of NYC ACRE Incubator

Entrepreneurship -

New York City is so close to Boston yet I know relatively little about the energy industry there. So, the day before I flew over to Europe, I decided to check out NYC’s cleantech incubator called ACRE which stands for “Accelerator for Clean and Renewable Economy“. It was started by a $1.5million dollar grant from NYSERDA to NYC Poly . The grant was made in collaboration with NYCEDC, NYCIF, Columbia Univ., NYU, and Pratt Institute. They put on awesome events, so sign up for their newsletter if you want to keep in touch with them and utilize a great resource in the city. Lastly, if you’re an executive looking to transfer into cleantech, you should look into their Cleantech execs program.

nyu poly

NYC ACRE currently hosts 10 of NYCs best startup companies and I sat down with Micah Kotch, the managing director of ACRE, before we spoke with a a number of the companies involved.

The video is a little ghetto, its around 12 minutes and below you’ll an overview of he points that we discussed.

Here’s an overview

  • What’s happening in the clean energy industry in NYC and specifically in the NYC ACRE area
  • What is ACRE’s goal within cleantech in NYC
  • What public and corporate support NYC has to offer emerging cleantech groups.
  • What type of technologies, sectors, companies and sectors ACRE is looking into
  • If ACRE is looking for businesses that are focused on product development (R+D) or customer development (selling an existing product)
  • What the incubator provides to companies
  • Why they only provide a 6 months lease up to 24 months
  • How a company graduates, and how companies apply, you can apply to NYC ACRE here.

In case you’re super curious, here are what they are looking for from companies. The process is rolling, the applications are sent to the advisry board. Their goal is quality over quantity. They like to see companies who have already recieved some sort of funding, “people who are smarter then them”. They want to see market valedation, inital sales, something a little more then just an idea and a concept. They want to see technology that has a reall business case behind it and they want to see proof of it. In the end they’re more about customer development rather then product development.

  • If ACRE has been successful? What their graduation rate has been, how much money have their companies raised in early stage capital, how many people have they hired
  • The details of NYC Munipical Entreprenial Testing Services, which basically allows for companies to test out their technologies on government facilities (note there are 4,000 city building in NYC That can be used for prototyping)




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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.