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October 21, 2016

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

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].

futureworks-nyc-logoXRC Labs, Manhattan
Applications due November 7
XRC Labs is an innovation accelerator for the next generation of retail and consumer goods startups. In the midst of an industrywide retail transformation, hardware and smart tech companies are infiltrating XRC’s cohorts. Alumni include Loomia smart fabrics, Perseus interactive mirror, byReveal RFID-enabled technology and Thursday Finest 3D-knit apparel. Founded by management consultants Kurt Salmon and the Parsons School of Design at the New School, XRC is a design-centric innovation program that counts Intel is a partner. XRC runs two 14-week cohorts each year (January 3- April 10, 2017 and June 28-October 7, 2017), and companies receive $100k in capital, workspace, a team of mentors from brands like Equinox, Brand Foundry Ventures, rag & bone and a lineup of classes and workshops. To close the program, XRC hosts a Demo Day followed up by two weeks of venture capital consulting. Applications are due November 7. Learn more

entrepreneurs-roundtable-accelerator-futureworks-nycEntrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Manhattan
Applications due November 9
This early-stage fund and technology accelerator runs a pair of four-month programs in January and June. While not exclusively focused on hardware, ERA is increasingly leaning in to assist advanced manufacturing companies – especially in IoT. At the recent Demo Day, cohort companies included Dog Parker smart dog houses (one of our Futureworks Next Top Makers alumni), inkHunter augmented-reality tattoo tester and SensorKit gesture-recognition platform. ERA offers $100,000 in seed funding and the potential for follow-up capital from ERA’s fund. The accelerator’s network includes 300+ VC and angel investors, a Chelsea office space, and an extensive mentorship network. Plus inkind credits to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace, Softlayer, Paypal and Stripe. Applications are due November 9. Learn more

nyc-media-lab-combine-futureworks-nycNYC Media Lab’s Combine, Brooklyn
Applications due November 10
A public-private partnership seeded by NYCEDC, NYC Media Lab is a consortium of participating universities including Columbia, NYU, The New School, CUNY, IESE, and the School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute. The goal for the Combine is to match new technologies emerging in university labs, studios, classrooms and dorms with a program and resources to commercialize them. Mentors come from NYC Media Lab’s member companies and NYC investors including A+E Networks, Audible, Associated Press, Bloomberg, ESPN, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Viacom, Verizon, Hearst, News Corp, Vonage and Singtel. Alumni from the 2016 cohort include Vidrovr, born out of Columbia Engineering, and SVRROUND, born out of NYU ITP. Vidrovr extracts information from video using machine learning and artificial intelligence. SVRROUND has a novel 360 video streaming platform for interactive environments. Teams get $25,000 grant to start their companies and an opportunity to apply for up to an additional $25,000. The program runs from January 12-April 7 and is open to New York City students and faculty. Applications are due November 10. Learn more

Verizon Connected Futures II w NYC Media Lab, Brooklyn
Applications due November 10
For the second time, NYC Media Lab and Verizon Open Innovation team up on a prototyping and talent development incubator. The goal is to validate concepts from New York City university labs and studios and teams will be awarded up to $25,000 to develop prototypes. Along with capital, Connected Futures II provides feedback and mentorship from Verizon Open Innovation and Verizon Labs leadership. Content areas include Internet of Things, augmented reality and conversational interfaces. Applications are due November 10, and before then, Verizon and NYC Media Lab are hosting information sessions. Learn more

zahn-center-futureworks-nycZahn Innovation Center, Harlem
Applications due November 13
A program of the City College Fund, the Zahn Innovation Center is a startup incubator at the City College of New York offering resources to support campus ventures including annual competitions, a startup bootcamp, mentorship and pro-bono services, networking opportunities, and rapid prototyping facilities. Equipment includes a CNC lathe, CNC mill, 3D printers, laser cutters and a PCB shop. Zahn connects member companies with CCNY interns and a network of mentors. Alumni include StrongArm ergoskeletons, VeriPAD medicine testers and eKick skateboard lights. The annual Zahn Center Startup Competition, running from January to early May, is for companies with at least two City College undergrad or grad students. The competition culminates with a Demo Day and a chance at the Kaylie Hardware Prize and up to $50,000. Zahn also takes applications for residency in its incubator on a rolling basis. Mentors include Standard Chartered Bank, BNY Mellon, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matt Washington, and industrial designer Jordan Diatlo. Applications for the Startup Competition are due November 13. Learn more

Urban-X, Brooklyn
Applications due November 29
The collaboration between HAX and MINI, Urban-X’s four-month program focuses on urban-innovation startups pushing to make cities smarter. Urban-X offers a $60,000 seed investment, three months at the Greenpoint A/D/O makerspace and mentorship from product engineers, lawyers, investors, designers and ops specialists. Housed in the former Brooklyn Bazaar building, Urban-X also features a suite of machines and equipment like CNC routers, FDM printers, oscilloscopes, PCB benches and all the hand and power tools you’d expect. Startups close the program with demo days and also get the opportunity to visit HAX’s Shenzhen manufacturers and MINI’s HQ in Munich.  Alumni include Brooklyness intelligent bike helmets, Farmshelf modular urban farms and Nello intercoms. Applications for the next class are due Nov 29 and the A/D/O space formally opens in January. Learn more

Square Roots, Brooklyn
Applications due October 28
A yearlong hydroponic urban farming accelerator that gives you access to two acres of land. But The Farm is housed at the old Pfizer building (the same space as dozens of food startups and the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator), and the acreage is inside shipping containers. Instead of soil and sun, plants grow in water and are nourished by LED lights. Founders Kimbal Musk and Tobias Peggs have assembled a strong network of partners including folks from Indoor Ag Con, City Light Capital, Kickstarter, GrowNYC, Techstars, Powerplant Ventures and more. Entrepreneurs joining Square Roots get 24/7 access to a dedicated shipping container farm, office space as well as equipment from Freight Farms and ZipGrow. Learn more

NEW INC, Manhattan
New Inc is a Nolita-based cross-disciplinary program for entrepreneurs at the intersection of art, design and technology. Sound a bit flexible? It is. The first museum-led incubator intentionally focuses on frontier-pushing creatives specializing in areas like 3D printing, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, electronics, digital storytelling and display fabrication. For instance, full-time member Artiphon’s INSTRUMENT 1 combines guitar, violin, piano and beatbox into one instrument. Part-time member VolvoxLabs fabricated motion-sensor maps for Sonos and interactive architecture for Heineken. New Inc’s incubator includes an 8,000 square-foot workspace, prototyping lab with 3D printers, a laser cutting, SparkFun computing tools and 2 HP Z840s. Yearlong programs kick off every September. Learn more

Techstars Internet of Things, Manhattan
Techstars launched its first Internet of Things program in New York this fall after a two-year collaboration with R/GA. Most notable is Techstars’ shift from consumer to enterprise IoT and partnerships with heavyweights like GE, Bosch, PwC, Verizon and SAP. The current class focuses on rewiring legacy industries – trucking, health, construction – and developing interoperable IoT platforms – API, drones, simple programs. Along with $60,000 in funding, Techstars lines up three months of intensive mentorship, work sessions, pitch practice and network-building that culminates in a jam-packed demo day. Learn more

futureworks-urbantech-nyc-1Urbantech NYC, Manhattan + Brooklyn
NYCEDC’s new incubator offers fast-growing cleantech and smart-city companies workspace, production equipment and mentorship. Equally important are partnerships with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation and NYU’s Center of Urban Science & Progress to expedite pilots on city infrastructure. Urbantech NYC spaces include Hub at Grand Central Tech, New Lab and Urban Future Lab, and equipment ranges from CNC mills and metal welders to laser cutters, 3D printers and an electronics workbench. Learn more

vengo-nydesigns-futureworks-nycNYDesigns, Queens
Incubation companies get three years of private studio space, discounted memberships to the fab lab and mentorship from NYDesigns’ team. The Long Island City-based advanced manufacturing center is a good fit for companies already prototyping products. NYDesigns’s 5,000 square-foot fabrication lab has an FDM rapid prototyper, large-format industrial laser cutter, traditional hand and power tools and more. Residents include Vengo smart vending machines, BotFactory PCB printers, Hoplite portable charging and Sunhouse music. Photo credit, OpenHouse. Learn more

urban-future-lab-futureworks-nycACRE at Urban Future Lab, Brooklyn
ACRE is a cleantech, smart grid and sustainable cities incubator supporting early-stage companies. Based in Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech, ACRE works with startups to grow from prototype to pilot to commercial-grade enterprises. NYU Tandon School of Engineering ensures a pipeline of interns and young talent to companies and ACRE provides in-house financial, legal, sales, marketing and design services. At the heart of the NYC cleantech community, the incubator is a host to fifteen startups, ongoing events, strategy sessions and investor meetings. ACRE is also part of the Incubatenergy Network that links 20+ cleantech incubators across the country. Advisors include Con Edison’s director of R&D, New York Power Authority’s CEO, GE Ventures’ managing director. Companies (current and alumni) include Lighticians, Keen Home smart vents, Radiator Labs and Lumiode headlamps. Learn more

samsung-accelerator-futureworks-nycSamsung Accelerator, Manhattan
Samsung Accelerator provides capital, product and operational support to entrepreneurs focused on VR, IoT, payments and consumer businesses for mobile, wearables and TV. The accelerator is part of the Samsung Global Innovation Center and is dedicated to providing startups with Samsung resources, decision-makers, product roadmaps, and one of the world’s largest platforms for distribution. There’s a flexibility of residency types here: CEO-led teams, six-month entrepreneur-in-residence programs and three-month hacker-in-residence programs. For traditional startups and EIR, the end goal is an acquisition by Samsung or a spin off. For hackers, it’s to build on an accelerator topic of interest, push the project forward and potentially receive more funding. Companies in the accelerator include Lotik water monitoring and Presto gesture control. Learn more

bfda-futureworks-nycBrooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Brooklyn
BF+DA is a hub for ethical fashion and design that offers entrepreneurs three ways to get involved. BF+DA’s Venture Fellowship offers full-time residency with one-on-one mentorship on business development, expert counseling on sustainable strategies and the support of an engaged peer community. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with a new deadline each month. The Membership option offers a full-year of benefits including access to the the Production Lab. Residency enables entrepreneurs to work from BF+DA’s dedicated desks, hot desks (for drop ins), a shared studio or dedicated studio space. BF+DA’s p.LAB is a digital fabrication service bureau offering 3D printing and laser cutting along with a sample development studio and small-run apparel manufacturing facility. The Sustainability Lab (s.LAB) offers hourly consulting services for NYC designers to create practical roadmaps to optimize the complete life cycle of the products. Alumni include Maddy Maxey’s Loomia, Frances Bitoni and TeknikioLearn more

manufacture-new-york-futureworks-nycManufacture New York Wearable Tech Incubator, Brooklyn
At Manufacture New York, wearable technology merges with traditional fashion manufacturing to create scalable products and enable technologies for startups and Fortune 500 tech companies alike. The incubator program is in its second year and curated by CTO Amanda Parkes who works with a small cohort of early-stage startups to produce, promote, manufacture and distribute their first wearable product. Parks is also a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab and an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Department of Architecture. The incubator has helped Thesis Couture engineer better heels, Coeio and Dropel Fabrics. Manufacture New York will eventually have a digital and advanced fabrication lab, a soft circuits and wearable electronics lab and a biology and chemistry wet lab. Learn more

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