“Pilot: New York City” Includes Recommendations to Boost Innovation Opportunities and Technology Piloting Across NYC

Roadmap Builds on a Long-standing Collaboration between NYCEDC and Cornell Tech and Proposes Measures Including Technology Procurement Modernization

Today, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Cornell Tech announced the launch of Pilot: New York City to advance New York City as a global hub for urban innovation. The new initiative, a key proposal within the “New” New York Panel Making New York Work for Everyone Action Plan, aims to streamline processes, collaborate with the private sector, nonprofits, and academia, and tap into the creativity of New Yorkers, to enable the city to become one of the world’s most important places to pilot and scale urban innovation ranging from curbside electric vehicle charging to building decarbonization technology.

Pilot: New York City will seek to streamline coordination and collaboration across public, private, academic and nonprofit partners to accelerate urban innovation. The initiative creates a first-of-its-kind roadmap that will set New York City on its course to becoming the leading ecosystem for urban tech companies to build, grow and scale their businesses and strengthen the city’s capacity to address both climate change and economic recovery, while growing and diversifying New York’s economy.

Together with Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Urban Tech Hub, NYCEDC undertook a nine-month research collaboration to create Pilot: New York City. Research included interviews with over 120 stakeholders, including government agencies, tech companies, accelerators and incubators, academics, and financiers. New York City’s experience was then compared with best practices in other cities.

As a result, three overall themes lay the foundation for implementing Pilot: New York City:

  • First, the City should bolster its own innovation capacity through supporting innovation personnel at agencies and initiating more direct collaboration with local universities, to ensure that promising pilots transition to procurement orders and policy changes.
  • Second, the City should pursue procurement modernization by codifying a “challenge-based” procurement method, allowing agencies to define the problem they are trying to solve and test different technology solutions in the real world, on the path to making a final purchase decision.
  • Third, the City should enhance its support infrastructure for urban innovation startups through convening a pilot network—a group of accelerators and dedicated pilot sites—that together offer a streamlined point-of-entry for startups launching and growing in New York City.

An Advisory Group made up of industry-leading experts, venture funds, accelerators, pilot locations, and startups, also shared their unique insight and feedback on the creation of Pilot: New York City. Members include:

  • Lindsay Greene, Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Kate Frucher, The Clean Fight
  • Matt Harrigan, Company Ventures
  • Regina Myer, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
  • Elizabeth Lusskin, Empire State Development
  • William Floyd, Google
  • Shaun Stewart, Newlab
  • Dan Doctoroff, Co-Chair, “New” New York Panel
  • Laura Fox, Streetlife Venture
  • Julie Samuels, Tech:NYC
  • Clare Newman, Trust for Governors Island

The “New” New York Panel was launched in May 2022 by Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams to examine the future of New York City and the region’s economy. The panel created a set of 40 proposals intended to make New York City the best place to work and serve as a roadmap for the city’s future.

Through this initiative, New York City will leverage piloting opportunities, including city owned assets and partnerships with piloting locations like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Governors Island, other city-owned assets, and even core business districts to streamline processes and opportunities to pilot new innovations and solve for city challenges.

In the last decade, New York City has made substantial investments in the field of urban innovation, with specific emphasis on promoting the green economy. In 2022, over 600 companies formally applied to pilot their products in New York City through one of twelve city-run or city-affiliated programs, and over 50 pilots were deployed.

The City and NYCEDC have already begun championing entrepreneurship and innovation to advance piloting and tech to transition New York City towards a greener and sustainable future.

In September 2023, NYCEDC announced the activation of one of its flagship assets, the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT), in Sunset Park, for climate innovation pilot projects allowing companies to test and scale their technologies in live environments. The program will allow companies to pioneer groundbreaking technology and solve for city challenges around energy, transportation, and building decarbonization.

NYCEDC and Newlab, in collaboration with Con Edison and the Department of Transportation announced the five startups participating in the Resilient Energy Studio, a program designed to cultivate local energy storage capacity across New York City through entrepreneur-led pilot projects and collaboration with community organizations, energy experts, and leading industry stakeholders.

In 2023, itselectric, a Brooklyn-based electric vehicle curbside charging company, in partnership with Hyundai CRADLE and NYCEDC unveiled three electric vehicle (EV) curbside charging stations at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. The EV chargers will be the first compact, durable, and user-friendly charging posts featuring a fully detachable charging cord in North America – making it suitable and ideal for urban city use.

In 2021, NYCEDC selected JLL Technologies (JLLT) as the City’s key partner to launch the citywide Property Technology (Proptech) Piloting Program to benefit City-owned and managed assets. The Proptech Piloting Program will seek to find innovative proptech startups that are interested in working with NYCEDC, Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to improve quality of life for tenants and address building sustainability.

New York City has more tech-enabled startups than any city outside the Bay Area and offers more than 300 ecosystem support spaces—including incubators, accelerators, and coworking facilities—to help support entrepreneurs as they develop their big ideas and gain a foothold in the market.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city’s future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

About Cornell Tech
Cornell Tech is Cornell University’s groundbreaking campus for technology research and education on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Our faculty, students and industry partners work together in an ultra-collaborative environment, pushing inquiry further and developing meaningful technologies for a digital society. Founded in partnership with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the City of New York, Cornell Tech achieves global reach and local impact, extending Cornell University’s long history of leading innovation in computer science and engineering.

About the Jacobs Urban Tech Hub
The Jacobs Urban Tech Hub is an academic center that generates applied research, fosters an expanding tech ecosystem, and cultivates a new generation of urban technology talent. We bring a human-centered approach to research and education with the aim of building a better world through increased access and opportunity within the technology sector. The Hub bridges the gap between academic resources and public needs, organizing strategic partnerships between academia, industry, communities, and government — all towards furthering the positive impact of new technologies in cities.

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