Four companies have been selected to pilot their products and technologies across New York City—from mapping air quality and promoting affordable zero-waste household products to driving building energy efficiencies, reducing marine waste, and gathering water quality data.

Newlab is thrilled to announce that four companies from a competitive pool of global applicants are planning to pilot their technologies and products in locations across New York City as part of our Circular City Studio. Launched in 2018 with support from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Circular City Studio empowers urban tech startups to help make New York more equitable, livable, and resilient. In cooperation with city agencies, industry leaders, community organizations and researchers, the Circular City Studio aims to accelerate the product development, adoption, and investment in technologies proven to be effective in addressing complex and urgent challenges facing New York City.

The 2020 program officially kicked off in January with an open call seeking companies building frontier technologies and developing novel products that tackle two focal points for NYC’s sustainability agenda: transitioning to a circular economy and improving energy efficiency in buildings. 

When the open call for the Circular City Studio went live earlier this year, the world looked a lot different than it does today. However, the startups participating in the program have a clear role to play in helping New York City to deliver on a post-COVID-19 sustainability agenda. Moreover, these startups are eager to work with city stakeholders on challenges that apply their technologies to the things that matter most. 

2020 cohort

Newlab received applications from startups across the world, including 13 U.S. states and 16 countries. After a rigorous review process, including feedback from participating pilot sites—Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, The Trust for Governors Island, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, and Flatbush Junction BID—and insight from the program advisors—NYC Dept. of Sanitation, NYC. Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services, Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy, NYSERDA, Con Edison, Building Energy Exchange, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation—we are excited to welcome the four selected companies to the Circular City Studio:

Aclima: To protect people and the planet, Aclima puts air pollution and greenhouse gases on the map, block-by-block and around the world. Aclima deploys and manages region-wide sensor networks to provide transformative visibility into air pollution and emissions, accelerating climate action. Combining integrated hardware, software, and data science, Aclima’s platform is backed by years of R&D and validation, merging the latest technological advancements with rigorous science.

Algramo: Algramo is a smart dispensing system that makes household cleaning products, detergents, and other consumer products accessible, affordable, and zero waste. It allows customers to pay the lowest price per ounce, and buy only as much as they need by refilling their Algramo packaging. Algramo enables a contact-free shopping experience and provides only the highest quality products in collaboration with brand partners.

Sapient Industries: Sapient Industries provides a turn-key plug load management solution that couples an enterprise SaaS web application with a comprehensive deployment of smart plugs and smart power strips for commercial buildings. The Sapient web application collects energy data through smart devices and controls power delivery at each individual socket for every plugged-in piece of equipment throughout the facility. Sapient’s web-based analytics platform leverages machine learning to generate insights regarding energy inefficiencies, space and equipment utilization, safety, and equipment performance.

RanMarine USA: RanMarine USA’s vision is to keep our planet’s water safe and clean by deploying data-driven, autonomous aqua-drone technology to capture critical water quality data and to reduce the marine waste that is clogging our waterways. With 18 billion pounds of waste entering our oceans annually, the WasteShark attacks a severe environmental problem at the source to alleviate the burden of prevention, mitigation, and clean-up for all communities and stewards of water.  

Pilot programs

Aclima and Algramo will apply their innovative approaches to support the city’s transition to a circular economy, and Sapient Industries will pilot its product to showcase the efficiency gains buildings can achieve to comply with Local Law 97, which calls for a drastic reduction in building emissions. RanMarine will be working toward a pilot to deploy its technology to clean the waters around Governors Island and gather critical water quality data. The program marks the first point of entry into the New York market for Aclima, RanMarine, and Algramo, which is also making its U.S. debut.

Each company will work closely with Newlab to develop plans for the deployment of their products and technologies in one or more of the participating pilot site locations, turning the city into a living lab for urban innovation. Newlab will share a sneak peek into each of the teams and their pilots on June 18.

Core to the program’s success is the level of collaboration and engagement between participants. On a monthly basis, Newlab will host virtual workshops to convene the companies, city stakeholders, advisors, and domain experts. Progress of the pilots and new data collaborations will unfold alongside policy considerations and broader dialogues on the future of urban sustainability, as each interrelated activity is required to support a circular city.