Futureworks Incubator Gets New York City Hardware Startups Investment-Ready

Innovation agency SecondMuse and NYCEDC brought back the citywide Futureworks Incubator this January with a cohort of 15 Fellows and 50+ Entrepreneurs. The Futureworks Incubator is one of America’s largest urban hardware programs and gets startups investor-ready through expert mentorship, a series of essential workshops, and a community of supportive founders that help each other scale.

Futureworks Incubator Fellows include a diverse group of hardware-product startups. From glass solar panels and a revolutionary drum kit to at-home dry cleaning and autonomous robotic boats, Fellows address the diversity of NYC’s needs. The 15 Fellows are in three smaller cohorts where they’ll focus on core needs, including Crowdfunding to Retail, sponsored by Greenpoint’s Kickstarter and Sunset Park-based UncommonGoods, Sales and Marketing, and Manufacturing.

Futureworks Incubator Entrepreneurs is already supporting more than 50 startups and founders, and applications are still open for this portion of the program! As a part of the Entrepreneur cohort, you’re invited to a series of workshops and summits designed to help your hardware startup get off the ground. Evening workshops and all-day summits are led by New York City founders from companies like Tomorrow Lab, Genimex and more. They’re free and open to the NYC hardware community. Apply here!

Other sponsors and partners of the program include SolidWorks, Octopart, GT’s Kombucha and SecondMuse’s M-Corps.

 

Join a Coalition of Futureworks Supporters

Futureworks Partners & Sponsors

Futureworks Partners help strengthen NYC’s hardware economy by supporting The Futureworks Incubator and startups through donations and in-kind contributions. Futureworks Sponsors work closely with participating startups and entrepreneurs, government leadership, mentors and the wider NYC community. Reach out here.

Futureworks Mentors

If you have experience in manufacturing, business, legal, marketing or other fields that can help hardware startups, apply here to join the Futureworks Incubator program, which is currently running and goes through the end of the year.


Incubator sponsors


Futureworks Incubator Mentor Alumni

Business
Alex Pavlou Bamboo Crowd
Alex Pavlou Bamboo Crowd

I’m keen to provide guidance and support to growth companies looking to hire and engage with the right talent. Also interested in supporting businesses who are trying to solve tough recruitment challenges and use my expertise to connect with foundersl to help them on their mission to scale.

Alin Cosmanescu ESC Games
Alin Cosmanescu ESC Games

I hope to foster a vibrant and world-beating community of manufacturers and technologists in the greatest city in the world.

Brian Wilson Duro UAS
Brian Wilson Duro UAS

Having gone through the program with Duro UAS autonomous technologies, I thought it would be good to give back. It will also allow me to meet more people in our space.

Carolyn Katz Score
Carolyn Katz Score

I’ve worked with startups in a range of roles (founder, banker, VC, advisor, mentor) for many years, and love them all. Over the past several years, I’ve been focusing more time on mentoring, through Score and other organizations, and it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done. I love watching founders learn and companies grow – and I learn so much. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple Futureworks members. It’s a terrific program, and I’d like to be more involved.

Christopher Chew Modern Meadow
Christopher Chew Modern Meadow

My interest in being a Futureworks Mentor is my love of advancing technology and supporting the teams who do that work. I’ve always been at the apex of new technology and hope to continue to broaden my understanding of what is cutting edge in the world of advance manufacture. I also hope to share my experience in the world of hardware and materials to help teams get off the ground. Scale, funding, leadership are all potential killers for teams and businesses. 

Dawn Quaker Columbia University
Dawn Quaker Columbia University

I’m a New York City resident and member of the tech community. I think mentorship is a critical factor in startups successfully scaling.

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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.

William Baxter Baxter Regulatory Solutions
William Baxter Baxter Regulatory Solutions

I am looking to help the hardware startup community understand that they exist in a regulated space. I will help to prepare them for the regulatory challenges that exist for products that are sold to consumers in the US and in other countries. Tech startups need the basics of these regulations upfront rather than getting surprised as they grow.

Manufacturing
Benjamin McCallum 1981
Benjamin McCallum 1981

I hope to contribute as a listener and supporter to a hardware startup founder at the early stages of building a product and a company. I’d also like to to share the experience and knowledge I’ve gained working as a Product Manager at MakerBot at LittleBits to help them build testable prototypes and operational blueprints for reaching market.

 

David Chitayat Genimex
David Chitayat Genimex

I am the Group CEO for Genimex, a design, engineering and manufacturing company with offices based in Taipei, Shanghai and NYC. We have an in-house team of industrial designers, engineers, quality control and account management that handles your project from concept design to production.

Eda Sanchez-Persampieri St Francis College
Eda Sanchez-Persampieri St Francis College

I have a passion for mentoring entrepreneurs within nontraditional and underserved populations and guiding those entrepreneurs towards the resources and tools needed to build and scale their concepts into profitable and sustainable businesses. My research interests are entrepreneurship education applied as workforce development, the impact of entrepreneurship education on first-gen students, and lifting families out of poverty through female entrepreneurship. Additionally, I am interested in the sustainability of apparel companies launched through crowdfunding projects

Joseph Borrello Proto-Sauce
Joseph Borrello Proto-Sauce

Having participated in the program last year as a member startup, I really enjoyed all of the programming and found a lot of the information and connections to be very helpful. As a mentor for this cycle, I hope to be able to share some of the things I learned last year and help facilitate connections between up-and-coming startups and other groups and companies in the NYC area.

Orin Davis Quality of Life Laboratory
Orin Davis Quality of Life Laboratory

I enjoy helping the future businesses of the world to excel and become great places to work. Among the keys to the realm are having the right narrative, having the ability to innovate, and attracting, retaining, and developing the right people. From a professional standpoint, I’m looking to gain more experience in startups and their challenges, build my brand as a mentor and specialist, and do some solid networking.

Paul Vizzio Grow
Paul Vizzio Grow

I want this city to overtake Silicon Valley as the place that hardware engineers think of as the place to be. I’ve witnessed the growth of tech in NYC the last few years, specifically with places like New Lab, and I want to help out in that progress. I’ve worked full time for startups the last three years and started a consulting business in my free time to help hardware startups succeed.

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Marketing & Branding
Amelise Lane Weber Shandwick
Amelise Lane Weber Shandwick

I’m looking forward to working with a broader range of hardware startups, while also working with a program that has statewide impact.

Cynthia Slowik Consultant
Cynthia Slowik Consultant

I have been really inspired by Futureworks Incubator program’s mission to support early-stage hardware entrepreneurs and advanced manufacturing. I learned from many hardware founders that it’s very hard to have enough space, support and shared data at the early stage phase. I understand that being an innovator in the hardware space is extremely challenging and founders need to be more dynamic.

David Yakobovitch Galvanize
David Yakobovitch Galvanize

I love to mentor, coach, and foster innovation. I have worked with the likes of start-ups, VC funds, and Innovation centers such as Angelhack and Galvanize. Whether data science, AI, or business development, I would be proud to offer my expertise for startups.

George Georgallides Change VC
George Georgallides Change VC

I look forward to mentoring in order to be another asset for ambitious founders’ goals whether through fundraising help, user acquisition creativity, business strategy, partnerships brokering or personal support.

Jessica Califano Adafruit
Jessica Califano Adafruit

Jessica Califano is the Director of Community, Support and Publishing at Adafruit, a woman-owned electronics manufacturing company. She establishes marketing and branding strategies for the company. Jessica graduated from NYU with a degree in Media, Culture, and Communications.

John Rudikoff CUBE (Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship) - Brooklyn Law
John Rudikoff CUBE (Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship) - Brooklyn Law

Working with the Futureworks Incubator for early stage companies provides me with a unique snapshot of innovation in various sectors, and informs me to the corresponding legal challenges that we can anticipate.

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Prototyping & Understanding Users
Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson RaceYa
Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson RaceYa

I enjoy helping entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes I made and helping them recover quickly from the ones they make on their own.

Adam Winski Convene Conference Centers
Adam Winski Convene Conference Centers

I participated as a mentor last year and really enjoyed the experience of helping early stage startups think through some of their customer and go-to-market questions. I also enjoyed getting to know the incredible group of fellow mentors. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the NYC startup community.

Andrew Chepaitis ELIA Life Technology
Andrew Chepaitis ELIA Life Technology

My team participated in Futureworks last year. It was worthwhile and I would love to give back. Mentoring is helpful for me/us, as we remain engaged in the Futureworks community.

Antonio Iadarola Studio Wé
Antonio Iadarola Studio Wé

I am interested in applying my strategic and service design expertise in the development of new manufacturing based business models.

Aymeric de Ferrieres Palm Drive Capital
Aymeric de Ferrieres Palm Drive Capital

In the past few years I have contributed to transform the largest French e-commerce company supply chain, bringing automation and robotic solutions to improve processes and performance. I am passionate about what is going on in this field, and I want to spend some time helping entrepreneurs define their products and adjust their go-to-market strategy.
I hope I can keep building an interesting network among brilliant engineers who share my interest for automation and robotics. I hope to learn as much as I can in this field.

Colin Kelly Independent Designer
Colin Kelly Independent Designer

I’ve always been passionate about connecting with people who are supporting or developing compelling hardware products. As someone who has lived in the city on and off since 2007, I’m particularly excited to help companies eager to build in New York City. By participating in the Futureworks Incubator, I hope to not only contribute my expertise to the burgeoning hardware manufacturing industry in NYC, but also learn from the other entrepreneurs and mentors and grow my network of NYC-based hardware and design enthusiasts.

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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

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!