Futureworks Incubator Gets New York City Hardware Startups Investment-Ready

Innovation agency SecondMuse has teamed up with NYCEDC on the citywide hardware incubator for early- and growth-stage startups. The Futureworks Incubator gets startups investor-ready through expert mentorship, a series of essential workshops, and a cohort of startups to help founders scale. Alumni include ELIA, MICRO Museums, WearWorks, Oonee, Easy Aerial and 85+ other entrepreneurs and startups. Futureworks takes no equity, and there’s no cost to participate.

The Futureworks Incubator is an eight-month program that kicks off in January. Our targeted programming  includes a crowdfunding-to-retail cohort backed by Greenpoint’s Kickstarter and Sunset Park-based UncommonGoods.

Futureworks Incubator workshops are taught by industry leaders in technical and essential-business topics tailored to hardware companies. Startups also receive direct access to prototyping spaces through Futureworks Shops; an all-day intensive summits; showcase, marketing and demo day opportunities; access to NYC’s most expansive hardware network; and personalized guidance through SecondMuse’s Product Startup Plan.

Applications for Futureworks Incubator are closed, but to get invites to events and workshops, apply here.

The Futureworks Incubator is also seeking mentors to support startups throughout the program. If you have experience in manufacturing, business, legal, marketing, or other relevant fields, apply here.

 

How do I participate?

Futureworks Fellows

Futureworks will launch with 10-15 startups as part of the core Futureworks Fellows. Within the Fellows, there will be a trio of specialized Cohorts who receive tailored support and partner opportunities. Futureworks Incubator applications are closed.

Futureworks Entrepreneurs

Futureworks Entrepreneurs is a community of startups invited to workshops, select summits and monthly programming. Futureworks Entrepreneurs should have already begun user research. For invites to workshops and events, which start in January, join our mailing list.


Futureworks Incubator Mentor Alumni

Business
Adam Winski Convene Conference Centers
Adam Winski Convene Conference Centers

Adam is an entrepreneur and advisor who has helped create and commercialize products and services that drive social good and bottom line growth. Adam has experience ranging from consumer goods to healthcare to advanced manufacturing.

Alek Marfisi Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi Upwind Strategies

Alek has worked as a consultant and project manager and has helped raise millions in funding. As a member of the economic development community in New York City, Alek has conducted over 100 trainings on small business finance, management, and marketing.

Angie Muller Techstars IoT
Angie Muller Techstars IoT

Angelia manages the Internet of Things program for Techstars (IoT). The program incubates startups that are positioned to rewire the infrastructure of the future. Prior to Techstars, Angelia was the director of XRC Labs.

Bart Clareman Indiegogo
Bart Clareman Indiegogo

Bart Clareman is Senior Manager of Hardware Outreach at Indiegogo and the Founder of Clareman & Co. LLC. He previously was Cofounder and COO of Tiggly where he was responsible for consumer retail sales and marketing. Bart holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Brynna Tucker Brooklyn Public Library
Brynna Tucker Brooklyn Public Library

Brynna Tucker joined the Brooklyn Public Library as the BKLYN Incubator Manager in 2016. She joined BPL’s Strategy team with over 15 years of experience working with innovative people seeking to create change. She is a founding member of the NYC Innovation Collective.

Casey Reider Coalition for Queens
Casey Reider Coalition for Queens

Casey has worked in several roles at clean energy startups. He’s also pursued opportunities as a consultant for cleantech and healthcare startups. Casey earned an MBA and taught himself software development. He now spends his days creating a hardware program at the Coalition for Queens.

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Daniel Gross Myers Wolin
Daniel Gross Myers Wolin

Daniel Gross is an intellectual property attorney at Myers Wolin. Daniel’s research experience as WIPO Senior Fellow for Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Policy gives him a unique perspective on the technical aspects of invention and innovation.

Jonathan Askin Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic
Jonathan Askin Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic

Jonathan Askin is a professor at Brooklyn Law School. He is the Founder of the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic, which represents Internet, new media, communications and other tech startups. Jonathan is an honors grad of both Harvard College and Rutgers Law School.

Len Gray Gray, PLLC
Len Gray Gray, PLLC

Len is a serial entrepreneur, multiple startup founder and corporate law generalist. Len was a corporate associate in Latham & Watkins LLP, and he received his J.D. with honors from the University of Michigan Law School and his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Marjorie White Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic
Marjorie White Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic

Marjorie S. White is Associate Professor of Clinical Law, and Director of Transactional Practice for the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic. Professor White graduated from Harvard University and earned her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was Comment Editor of the Law Review.

Philippe Laguerre Myers Wolin, LLC
Philippe Laguerre Myers Wolin, LLC

Philippe Laguerre is a registered patent attorney with experience in the full range of trademark and patent matters. He approaches all aspects of his practice with an emphasis on strategy and client communication. Philippe has worked with individual inventors, startups, and Fortune 500 companies.

Manufacturing
Alicia Harder Adafruit Industries
Alicia Harder Adafruit Industries

Alicia has 3+ years of experience in manufacturing and is currently an Electronics Architecture Director at Adafruit Industries. She’s involved in overseeing 2000+ unique products from fabrication to testing, making sure each product is ready for retail.

Babak Kia Boston University College of Engineering
Babak Kia Boston University College of Engineering

Babak Kia is Faculty at Boston University’s College of Engineering where he focuses on the fusion of Education, Innovation, and Technology into the engineering curriculum. Babak has extensive Computer industry experience and is an advisor to a number of technology companies.

Charles Doomany Darwin Launch Lab
Charles Doomany Darwin Launch Lab

Charles is an inventor, independent product developer and design generalist. He holds a Masters of Art (MA) & Masters of Science (MSc) from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London in Innovation Design Engineering, and a BFA in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University.

David Chitayat Genimex
David Chitayat Genimex

David Chitayat has held the position of CEO and principal at Genimex since 2001. His role has been instrumental in transforming Genimex from a traditional trading company it was 40 years ago, into the multinational organization it is today.

Digant Dave Newell Brands
Digant Dave Newell Brands

Product design and development professional, experienced in taking products from concept to market using a data-driven and customer-centric approach at companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 clients. He is currently the Senior Project manager at Newell Brands.

Frank Vallese ePhysics Technologies
Frank Vallese ePhysics Technologies

Frank Vallese, Sc.D. is the CEO of ePhysics Technologies, an advisory for investors and founders with technology/IP strategy, product roadmap/traction and operations management. Previously he was the CEO of Electrophysics Corporation.

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Marketing & Branding
Alesandro Romero Autodesk
Alesandro Romero Autodesk

Alessandro is currently the Senior Marketing manager at, where he combines his passion for digital media with his desire to create. He’s helped with Autodesk’s field marketing strategy for the consumer portfolio, and visual communications for the Product Design & Development group.

Chris Chavez Prime Produce
Chris Chavez Prime Produce

Chris creates collaboratories. He is the co-founder of prime produce, a guild for 21st century craft in Hell’s Kitchen. He also leads expansion for House of Genius, a global neighborhood of entrepreneurs who want to make neighborhoods more resourceful.

Chris Gorges Infinia Group
Chris Gorges Infinia Group

Chris is Managing Director of Infinia Ventures, part of Infinia Group, where he focuses on brand strategy and design for startups. Previously he at digital agencies including and spent spent five years in management consulting at Booz Allen and IBM. He holds an MBA from NYU Stern.

Davar Ardalan NPR
Davar Ardalan NPR

Davar Ardalan is an NPR News veteran and current Director of Storytelling & Engagement at SecondMuse. There, she leads storytelling strategy campaigns for partners such as NASA, and Nike Inc. She’s been at the forefront of experimenting with new storytelling techniques.

David Deutsch ND4 Advisory
David Deutsch ND4 Advisory

David is co-founder and Managing Director of ND4 Advisory, helping early stage companies raise seed, angel and Series A funding, and advising them on growth.

Erum Azeez Khan messagingLab
Erum Azeez Khan messagingLab

Erum completed a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry & Toxicology, and she gained experience working on drug development at GSK. Erum now works on innovation strategy for messagingLab.

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Prototyping & Understanding Users
Aleef Mahmud Protyo
Aleef Mahmud Protyo

An award-winning leader with a successful history of driving innovation through Lean Six Sigma and Agile Development, Aleef is also the recipient of the Maritime Heroes Award from US Sailing. He’s led product development in VR, IoT, robotics, medical devices, SaaS, mobile apps and more.

Alex Tosti blink blink
Alex Tosti blink blink

Alex is COO and co founder of blink blink, a company that develops creative circuit kits for kids. Alex has a BFA in philosophy from Santa Clara University and a MFA in Design & technology from Parsons. She is currently a freelance web designer and product strategist.

Chris Ioffreda Pebble
Chris Ioffreda Pebble

Chris Ioffreda is a designer working at the intersection of Industrial Design, Tangible Interaction, and Fashion. He worked as a key member of the industrial design team at Pebble. Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon.

Ekin Banal Sonavox, HAX, SOSV
Ekin Banal Sonavox, HAX, SOSV

With an extensive experience in R&D and technical management, product development, and generating new revenue streams Ekin is one of the pioneers in bringing ‘smarts‘ into the HiFi world. Ekin is President of BICOM and VP of Business Development for Sonavox.

Harlan Milkove Foundational
Harlan Milkove Foundational

Harlan Milkove is a product-minded software engineer and veteran startup founder. Prior to forming Foundational, he was the founding software engineer at Astro, the maker of Twist Home, and a founder at Reonomy.

John Briscella AMiNiMAL studio
John Briscella AMiNiMAL studio

John Briscella is focused on the research of complex systems and the use of emerging technologies as an approach to designing in the 21st century, John co-founded AMiNiMAL studio. His designed spaces focus on creative interactivity and community involvement.

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Past incubator companies

StrongArm Technologies, a 2015-16 Futureworks Incubator company, is a brand for industrial workers, or better, industrial athletes. StrongArm builds technologies and human performance equipment for the under-served and over-worked to simultaneously boost productivity and safety.

Sean Petterson, Mike Kim, Matt Norcia Founding Team

Incubator sponsors


FAQ

Applications are currently open! Apply here by October 31.  For other updates on the program, sign up to our newsletter.

Futureworks Incubator works to support the growth of hardware and advanced manufacturing startups and entrepreneurs in New York City. Through committed mentorship, expert-led workshops, a devoted alumni network and a passionate community of founders, we make building a company easier, cheaper and faster.

Futureworks Incubator builds on the success of its 2017-18 program year. Join the community as a Mentor, Startup, Partner or Sponsor and become embedded in a versatile and growing community of startups, local manufacturers, investors, and production spaces. We take no equity, and there’s no cost to participate for companies who apply. Futureworks Incubator is led by Brooklyn-based collaboration agency SecondMuse.

Within the program, every accepted startup will develop a plan to identify priorities and address the specific needs and challenges they are facing. Startups will have access to a network of Mentors, programming specifically designed for your company’s stage of development, and opportunities to showcase their product at networking and public-facing events.

The program is based on successes and learnings from the past four years of the Futureworks Incubator and its previous iteration. Here are some of the key highlights to look for:

  1. Workshops: Futureworks Incubator will host a workshop series on what you need to know to launch your own product startup ranging from business planning and exploration of business models, to design for manufacturing, to legal, to prototyping and manufacturing, to understanding how to bring your product to market. Preference for these workshops will be given to those that apply to be a part of the program, but we will reserve a small number for the general entrepreneurial public as well. Here is a summary of our 2017 Workshop on Connecting to Manufacturers at A/D/O, as well as of our 2017 Workshop on Understanding Users: Testing Products & Prototyping at Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator.
  2. Summits: Curated, full-day events that offer teams the opportunity to pitch, build relationships with mentors, prototype, and receive support from a group of experts with a specific challenge facing their business. Check out our 2017 Kickoff Summit at Kickstarter.
  3. Access to Mentors: Our Mentor network is made up of alumni companies and experts in design, business, legal, manufacturing, marketing, and more. Our Mentors are invested in and eager to grow the NYC hardware ecosystem. They have started and sold businesses, successfully launched and scaled products or companies, received prestigious awards, and even established entirely new markets. They are bound in their commitment to help NYC-based hardware and product entrepreneurs along their journey to success.

Additional Events and Showcases: Throughout the Incubator experience, participating entrepreneurs and startups will have access to opportunities to showcase their company and product to the public alongside other Futureworks Incubator companies. Here is a link to our 2017 closing event at Electropositive.

As long as you are working on a hardware startup  in NYC, then we have a place for you! We consider startups and entrepreneurs in every stage along the journey.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be a student in, resident of, or have a business located in New York City. Only one application per business or product will be accepted.

Yes! We are offering more opportunities to learn from, connect with and engage in an expanded set of materials and experiences highlighting people, places and resources relevant to your business. The short answer is: if you think you have something to gain and contribute to the Futureworks Incubator, absolutely apply.

The program focuses on your commitment to and engagement in New York City. The program will feature products and companies that fit within one or multiple of the following categories:

  • Made in NYC
  • Designed in NYC
  • Solves an NYC problem
  • Interested in local production or manufacturing

Please note that the following types of product are excluded from participating in the program:

  • Consumer non-durable goods (including but not limited to food; beverages; and health and beauty products such as cosmetics, medicines, nutritional supplements and vitamins)
  • Agricultural products
  • Media products (including, but not limited to books, publications, music, photographs, video, and film)
  • Weapons
  • Sex toys
  • Chemical, liquid or gas
  • Permanent structures
  • Raw materials
  • Art, sculpture, or painting, unless the Product is reproducible, scalable, and has functionality beyond purely artistic purposes

Startups and participating entrepreneurs will need to submit an application via the program website. The organizing team (SecondMuse and NYCEDC) will assess whether or not applicants meet requirements and selection criteria.

Futureworks entrepreneurs and/or startups will be evaluated and selected based on the following criteria:

  • Your product
  • Your business
  • Your team (background, how many team members, skill sets, experience, willingness to contribute to this community)
  • NYC relevance (are you, your teammates or your company based in NYC; do you want to build or make your product here?)

In preparing your application, you should be aware that as long as your idea is not disclosed to others, or is disclosed only in confidence, you may have some limited Intellectual Property protection over your idea. This limited protection can be jeopardized by disclosing your idea. Accordingly, you should be aware that:

  1. You are solely responsible for protecting any rights in your invention. If you apply for the program before any Intellectual Property rights are established, you risk jeopardizing your ability to later obtain protection. We prefer that you take steps to protect your interest in your submission before submitting to us. Accordingly, we recommend:
    1. Reviewing the USPTO information for inventors.
    2. Consulting with a competent patent attorney prior to your submission.  If you would like a recommendation for an attorney to contact, please contact us at [email protected]

Applicants for the Futureworks Incubator must agree to the following:

I hereby agree and acknowledge that: (i) I am submitting to the Futureworks Incubator program only non-confidential and public domain materials in the sections of the form marked as NON-CONFIDENTIAL; (ii) I am authorized to submit this response to the Futureworks Incubator program and indemnify all Futureworks Incubator program participants, partners and organizers from any and all claims related to my intellectual property; (iii) I retain full rights over respective intellectual property; and (iv) I grant Futureworks Incubator program participants, partners and organizers the right to share and distribute the NON-CONFIDENTIAL portions of my submission materials for review purposes and for the marketing and promotion of the Futureworks Incubator program.

Submissions for the Futureworks Incubation program may be rejected at the sole discretion of the program organizers, either in part or in their entirety, if it is deemed to be obscene, defamatory, likely to incite violence or illegal activity, in violation of any third-party’s rights, or is otherwise deemed to be inappropriate. The program organizers reserve the right, without liability, to cancel, suspend, amend or modify the program, or any part of it, at any time.

All applications must be submitted in English. Given this is a community-based program, it is critical that participants have a strong proficiency in the English language in order to engage with and benefit from others in the community.

In short – the spirit of collaboration! Futureworks Incubator is an unprecedented citywide initiative to support the advanced manufacturing and hardware ecosystem: startups, innovators, manufacturers, service providers, institutions of higher learning, etc. More than 50 organizations and individuals were consulted for the initial design of the program called Next Top Makers in 2013. Over the past several years, the community has continued to grow and evolve with changes in technology, funding, and the hardware and manufacturing landscapes of the city.

 

As long as you are in NYC for key program dates and have an interest or plan to build your business in the city, we encourage you to apply!