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Futureworks Shops gets smart with wearables at BF+DA

July 12, 2017

Friday, we collaborated with Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator to present TEK-TILES, an all-day wearables workshop in Brooklyn. BF+DA is pioneering connected fashion and smart fabrics and with 10% of clothing expected to be connected to apps or the Internet in the next ten years, it’s important work. Facilitators from eight universities worked with entrepreneurs to explore technical materials like conductive yarns, thermoreactive threads, color-changing filaments, AR knitting and optic fibers. Check out photos below, explore more events and join us on Twitter and Instagram.

The TEK-TILES event was part of Futureworks Shops, a citywide program providing New Yorkers with prototyping and production credits, access to coworking opportunities, studio time, mentorship and events. Take a look at Futureworks Shops across the city.

Photo credits: BF+DA, Rachel Foley and Jensin Wallace.












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Futureworks Shops invites you to jam out with wearables at BF+DA, perfect your product plan at Craftsman Ave and win free 3D printing credits at Voodoo Manufacturing

June 26, 2017

Last month, we launched Futureworks Shops, a network of nine advanced production spaces who are opening their doors to you. In July, we’re inviting you to a series of free events that will help you hone your product and grow your business. The lineup starts July 7 at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA) in Bed-Stuy with an intensive workshop on wearable technology. You’ll learn about conductive yarns and fabrics, thermoreactive threads and color-changing filaments. On July 11, head to Voodoo Manufacturing to tour their Bushwick 3D-printing factory; you’ll also get a chance to win up to $600 in printing credits. Then on July 12, Craftsman Ave in Gowanus hosts an evening workshop that’ll take you through the core elements of positioning and branding your business. Check out the events and RSVP below. Space is limited.


Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
Friday, July 7 from 10am-4pm
RSVP link – use passcode: fwshopsbfda

Join a group of creative technologists, designers and textile engineers for a day of discovery and a deep dive on envisioning the future of apparel. The BF+DA has challenged a multi-dimensional group from eight universities to explore the intersection of technology, manufacturing, sustainability and textiles in the form of TEK-TILES – 10″ x 10″ knit swatches activated by a variety of technical materials.

In collaboration with Futureworks NYC, BF+DA is opening its doors to a select group of industry leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to help us envision how to take our TEK-TILES to the next level. Three ideas, based on our themes of “Connectivity, Monitoring and Transformation,” will be manufactured and put on display in an upcoming exhibition.

Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator is redefining the apparel industry to benefit the environment and society. BF+DA provides workspace, manufacturing services, mentorship, and programs designed to build financial success alongside ethical production. A community initiative of Pratt Institute, it has supported more than 40 emerging ventures and collaborated with close to 200 organizations over the past three years. NYC entrepreneurs who called BF+DA home include  Maddy Maxey, Mandy Kordal and Tara St. James.


Voodoo Manufacturing
Tuesday, July 11 from 6:30-8:30pm
RSVP link – use passcode: futureworks_shops_voodoo


Voodoo Manufacturing is building a digital factory to make manufacturing as fast, affordable, and scalable as software. The Brooklyn-based factory of 160 3D printers can make thousands of plastic parts and products in astonishingly short periods of time.

This event is held at Voodoo’s facility in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and sponsored by Futureworks NYC. Voodoo Manufacturing is excited to be a part of the Futureworks Shops program, and open up its space to the community of local makers, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, and hobbyists who are looking for fast or high volume 3D printing services.


Craftsman Ave
Wednesday, July 12 from 6-9pm
RSVP link – use passcode: MakerMind

A three-hour workshop that covers the basics of what it takes to launch a product company. You’ll develop an entire roadmap to blueprint the launch of your idea, product or company. Craftsman Ave will break down the evening into five steps with a short interactive session in between each one:

  • Step 1 – Validate your idea – 30 min
  • Step 2 – Prototyping – 30 min
  • Step 3 – Market testing – 30 min
  • Step 4 – Branding – 30 min
  • Step 5 – Launch strategy – 30 min
  • Presentation and pitches.
  • Beer and networking

Craftsman Ave opened up their 1500 sq-ft space in 2015 to help New Yorkers bring their ideas to life. Since then, they’ve had more than a thousand students come through for workshops in everything from product design to woodworking and prototyping. For curriculum and teaching, Craftsman Ave partners with instructors at Pratt and Parsons. Six of them were awarded Best Instructors by CourseHorse in 2016. They also teamed up with Soho House to bring their maker education to Manhattan.

Founder Taras Kravtchouk also runs Gravity Hill – a digital design agency that helped FIKA develop their brand identity, packaging and interior design and works with brands like Earos Acoustic, Cobble Hill Juice and Roomi. Craftsman Ave has a wood and metal shop as well as hotdesking and events space. Check out Craftsman Ave’s full list of resources, explore the space and workshops and join them on Instagram.

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VIDEO: Futureworks Incubator manufacturing discussion at Futureworks Shops A/D/O in Greenpoint

June 8, 2017

NYCEDC Futureworks Incubator Manufacturing Discussion at A/D/O from SecondMuse on Vimeo.

Futureworks Incubator supports and champions the growth of 45 startups, and we’ll welcome another 30 entrepreneurs later this summer. We’re passionate about sharing all the resources we create and capture with the wider community. As part of that mission, we’ve shared the panel discussion from the Futureworks Incubator launch at Futureworks Shop A/D/O. Listen as RockPaperRobot, Thimble, WearWorks, StrongArm, Dog Parker and BotFactory share their experiences and most valuable lessons from starting a manufacturing company in New York City. All of our panelists are alumni of New York’s Next Top Makers, the predecessor of Futureworks Incubator. Also, learn more about Futureworks Shops and join us on Twitter and Instagram.

From far left: Jessica Banks of RockPaperRobot, David Brenner of Thimble, Keith Kirkland of WearWorks, Mike Kim of StrongArm, Todd Schechter and Alex Tosti of Dog Parker, Nico Vansnick of BotFactory and Katey Metzroth of SecondMuse.

Earlier in the evening, NYCEDC Director of Smart & Sustainable Cities Lara Croushore welcomed 150 guests to A/D/O.

SecondMuse Director of Cities Katey Metzroth breaks down the pool of Futureworks Incubator applicants.

DribbleUp Founders Eric and Marc Forkosh explain the smart basketball technology to Jeff Crystal and Julia Connors of Voltaic Systems.

Pensa Founder Marco Perry chats with Travis Collins and Kirsten Taggert of Forbes.

Each Futureworks Incubator startup received a 100-page Program Guide filled with resources and contacts across New York City’s advanced manufacturing sector.

Wearable Media Founder Yuchen Zhang.

WearWorks Founder Kevin Yoo and Teleobjects Founder Victor Vina.

A Futureworks Incubator cohort breaks out for an independent intro and discovery session.

Autodesk’s Alex Romero and VR specialist Edwin Rogers.

Refreshments courtesy of Bronx Beer Hall.

SecondMuse’s Elyssa Dole and A/D/O’s Ben Scheim.


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The growing ecosystem of Futureworks Incubator partners

April 18, 2017

Building a successful hardware or advanced manufacturing company is hard. But so are most worthwhile endeavors. Like, say, perfecting homemade bread. Just ask Dan Barber, the award-winning Blue Hill founder who shares how an early, doughy, failure inspired him to perfect his craft. Even more compelling is Barber’s attention to cultivating a holistic ecosystem. To make the Blue Hill Farm hay better, he introduced cows; to spread fertilizer, he introduced chickens; to trim the encroaching forest, he introduced goats. And to build a farm-to-table-movement, he used this ecosystem to build an all-natural, sustainable farm to go along with his Greenwich Village and Tarrytown restaurants.

For Futureworks Incubator, we’ve been building an ecosystem that will support thoroughbreds. You hear a lot about unicorns, but in reality, unicorns are as frequent in the business world as they are in the real one. Startups tell us what they really need is a well-rounded support system to help them work, create, refine, raise capital, build teams, test products, manufacture and repeat.  We take a look at a baker’s half-dozen of the Futureworks Incubator partners who will help hardware startups rise over the next 12 months. This is just the beginning.

Alley is an entrepreneurial hub where teams and individuals grow their businesses surrounded by like-minded people and a supportive environment. Journalists, app developers, lawyers, fashion designers, venture capitalists and open innovation labs come together to form a community of hustlers. Alongside private offices and communal desk space, Alley curates frequent events (like a recent convo with Twitch.com Founder Justin Kan), offers strategic office hours and recently launched their Resilience series podcast.

In addition to Alley’s hubs in Chelsea and Midtown, they host the AB InBev Techstars Connection accelerator and are building a VR playground with Verizon. Learn more about Alley, and join them on Instagram and Twitter. Alley Chelsea is Futureworks Incubators’ HQ and we’ll be hosting office hours and happy hours here throughout the program.


Hester Street Fair

Founded in 2010 by three Lower East Side locals, Hester Street Fair set the standard for what a market is. Transcending the notion and meaning of a typical “food court” or “flea,” they’ve become a one-of-a-kind curious, cultural and community gathering, drawing from the diversity of the neighborhood and New York City at large. Their mission is to empower pursuits of passion, and Hester Street Fair has been the starting point for hundreds of such pursuits.

Open every Saturday through October 28 from 11am-6pm at Seward Park (intersection of Hester and Essex), you can see the full calendar of market themes and special events here. Check out videos of past events and join Hester on Instagram and Twitter. Hester is teaming up with Futureworks to help startups and entrepreneurs showcase their consumer goods in front of thousands of guests per day.


Infinia Group
Infinia Group is a brand strategy and design firm based in NoMad. They combine experience and empathy with flexibility and agility to create high-impact, bespoke brand-based solutions for clients ranging from Fortune 500 to pre-seed startups, and across industries from nonprofit to healthcare to professional services. Infinia works with senior leaders and founders who are committed to growing faster and smarter – clients with the ambition to build their businesses through inspired design and memorable experiences critical to successfully competing in today’s connected world.

In addition to being Agency of Record for Futureworks NYC, Infinia is currently working with wide-ranging clients including HackensackUMC, Westfield Insurance, The Theatre Development Fund, Cerimani and Wellforce. Join Infinia on Twitter.

Kickstarter helps designers, technologists, filmmakers, musicians, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. To date, more than 120,000 creative projects – big and small – have come to life with the support of the Kickstarter community. For the remainder of 2017, Kickstarter’s Design and Technology outreach team are focusing their efforts on supporting creators across three distinct categories; Creative Tools, Delightful Design, and Boundary Pushers. You can learn more about this open call for projects, here. To discover the latest projects, ideas, and opportunities in tech and design, sign up for Kickstarter’s Invent newsletter and join them on Twitter.

Kickstarter is working with mid-stage Futureworks Incubator startups to strategize, refine and launch crowdfunding campaigns. They’re also ushering product startups through the design-for-manufacturing process to streamline the post-raise experience. 


Prime Produce

Prime Produce is a guild for slow entrepreneurship being constructed in Hell’s Kitchen. They support an economics of nourishment and a life of hospitality from their hundred-year-old autobody shop in the city and from a farmhouse in Brewster, NY. Join Prime Produce on Twitter and Facebook.

Prime Produce is supporting Futureworks Incubator entrepreneurs by providing a place to convene, critical thinking, a supportive community and workspace.

The Bronx Beer Hall
Nestled in the heart of the Arthur Avenue market, The Bronx Beer Hall offers a full lineup of New York State craft beer as well as a menu from their neighbors. Brothers Anthony and Paul Ramirez also run Mainland Media, a startup that’s helping propel the uptown borough’s brand. Stop by or join The Bronx Beer Hall on Instagram and Twitter.

The Bronx Beer Hall is Futureworks Incubators’ food and beverage partner with a big side of #goodvibes.


Tomorrow Lab

Tomorrow Lab is a hardware innovation studio based in Chinatown. They believe that new hardware products are complex, wonderful beasts. Tomorrow Lab tames these forces and resolve the complexities of emerging technologies, user needs, business cases, and consumer insights by combining the disciplines of brand Strategy, product Design, and engineering. Their processes align creative, R&D, marketing and development efforts. Tomorrow Lab calls this Holistic Innovation. Check out their projects and clients in the 2016 Year in Review.

Founded in 2010 by partners Ted Ullrich and Pepin Gelardi, the six-person team is busy working on a number of products for both new and returning clients. These projects range in size and scope depending on whether our clients are new startups, in a hardware accelerator, or a well-founded, cross-functional team inside a global brand. Tomorrow Lab strives to make new and innovative products for small-scale or mass manufacturing.

Some of these are smart home products, others are within the charging solutions landscape, and others still are toys to teach STEM. This summer, they’ll be teaching a course in New York City alongside their colleagues at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) called “Hardware Innovation: Hacking Connected Devices.” You can learn more about that here. Join Tomorrow Lab on Instagram and Twitter. Tomorrow Lab is mentoring Futureworks Incubator companies on prototyping, designing for manufacturing and hosting consulting sessions for startups. 

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What skills gap? How Bushwick’s Total Metal Resource built a team of 2,000 local welders

January 25, 2017

Early last Spring, Bushwick-based Total Metal Resource won a contract with Riverside Developers to make 2,000 simple steel pieces for The William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. With his four-person team already committed to other projects, Founder Scott Behr didn’t want to scour Craigslist and expand his staff with cold hires. Then he remembered that through TMR’s Metal Shop Fantasy Camp, he’d taught 900 New Yorkers basic welding and metal work. Behr reached out to the community and quickly recruited 20 temporary hires to work in four-hour shifts. Less than three weeks later, TMR delivered the job.

Read more


Hey cleantech & smart city startups! NYC is the world’s biggest market

November 24, 2016

Ten years ago, cleantech meant solar power and energy farms. Now, it’s all about efficient cities and IoT. Local governments are updating aging infrastructure, have a wealth of users and an insatiable appetite for data. Entrepreneurs are equally hungry to decrease waste and, of course, change the world. Cleantech isn’t just “cleaner” “tech,” it’s smarter hardware that senses surroundings, knows users and manages itself. AI and cheap sensors are tiny foremen programmed to manage and track daily ops.

New York City has its fair share of infrastructure ops. We’re the world’s biggest municipal market for energy, sanitation, transportation and buildings. Imagine how much money and time we could save by being better managed, more transparent and efficient. The global smart city market will top $1.5 trillion by 2020, and VC money in the US doubled to $741.1m since 2015 according to Melissa Mittelman and Elliott Snyder at Bloomberg. Read more


Get certified with NYDesigns’ Solar Plus Pro and Urban Future Lab’s Advanced Diploma in Clean Energy

November 14, 2016

As New York City continues its evolution into an advanced manufacturing hub, workforce development is a top priority. Sectors like wood fabrication and electronics manufacturing are growing at 38% and 26.7% respectively. Across the country, there are about 380,000 open manufacturing jobs, and filling them relies on the combination of skilled workers deep training.  We took a look at a pair of professional manufacturing certification programs across New York City that are preparing the workforce for a career in advanced manufacturing.

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The Futureworks guide to NYC hardware, smart-tech and connected devices accelerators and incubators

October 21, 2016

Two years ago, Hackster’s Adam Benzion curated a list of the best American hardware accelerators for The Next Web. Although New York City got an honorable mention, no NYC accelerator made the list. Fast forward to today, and New York has a deep lineup of accelerators and incubators that help hardware and smart-tech startups grow. We curated all the programs from across the city – ranging from VC-backed accelerators like Techstars to government-supported incubators like Urbantech NYC. Programs with upcoming deadlines are listed first. Enjoy, and if you find a New York City accelerator or incubator that we missed, email us at [email protected]

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Manufacture New York launches Manufacture Foundation to train advanced manufacturing workforce

September 7, 2016

Manufacture New York recently launched The Manufacture Foundation, an education nonprofit to train a 21st-century advanced manufacturing workforce, provide subsidized incubation space and offer classes for startups, engineers, manufacturers and designers.

Workforce training is increasingly important as rapid machine innovation outpaces education of skilled workers. The Manufacture Foundation’s strategies are similar to Pratt’s Equitable Innovation Economies and Toyota’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program. Education, training and incubation will build on Manufacture New York’s burgeoning ecosystem as it ramps up to filling out 160,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The plan is to create “a 21st-century garment district” with almost 300 jobs, space for two dozen businesses, plus research and consulting contracts. Read more


Pratt Center helps lead national Equitable Innovation Economies Program with four-city pilot

August 23, 2016

Brooklyn’s Pratt Center for Community Development is spearheading a national urban-development strategy that sets inclusivity benchmarks for economic success. Photo credit: Pratt

In order to support and develop equitable, inclusive urban innovation and manufacturing economies, Brooklyn’s Pratt Center for Community Development, Oakland-based PolicyLink and the national Urban Manufacturing Alliance created the Equitable Innovation Economies project. Over the past two years, EIE’s pilot brought together four cities – New York City, Indianapolis, San Jose and Portland (Oregon) – to collaborate, rather than compete, on longterm economic development. The four cities are sharing research, strategies and data to foster and track inclusive planning. Earlier this month, Pratt released City Snapshots of each initiative, which we summarize below.

Over the past two years, each city developed public-private investments to intentionally break down innovation barriers that are holding back equitable development. The EIE team worked with cities to help advise on programmatic strategy, capture results and set next steps. While the goals in each city – increasing economic diversity, re-establishing manufacturing and training local workforce – are similar, the footprints have their own flavor.  Read more