Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg traveled to Columbia today to present a $20,000 prize to Greenext Technology Solutions, the winning team of a global business contest instituted by the mayor’s office a year ago. The NYC Next Idea Competition
, sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and co-organized by the Columbia Business School
, was designed to develop innovative ventures that will launch in New York, while showcasing talent from business and engineering schools around the world.
|Mayor Bloomberg fields a question on the Morningside Heights campus.
Image credit: Eileen Barroso / Columbia University
“New York City has always welcomed the best ideas from immigrants who bring them here, and it’s important to continue to do so,” Bloomberg said in his introduction to the award presentation. Afterward, during a press conference, the mayor added, “If we want to have a future, we cannot let the next great ideas go overseas; we’ll never get them back.”
A panel of judges from New York’s venture capital community selected the winner, Greenext Technology, from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, for its plan to create a clean-technology energy storage system in the five boroughs. Their proposed product, XEstor, would communicate with the city’s electric grid to adjust energy prices to match consumer demand while it charges and discharges electricity. The product would also serve as a backup power source and maintain the grid’s reliability.
The Next Idea Competition was announced last February as part of a set of initiatives pushed forward by the mayor to strengthen the city’s economy and raise its status as an international center for entrepreneurship.
“This competition is about discovering the next generation of business innovators in New York, and we’re pleased that the city’s development leaders have turned to Columbia for support in that endeavor,” said Laura Resnikoff, director of the Columbia Business School Private Equity Program
and adviser to the Economic Development Corporation’s competition planning team.
The competition was open to 15 leading business and engineering universities from countries across Asia, Latin America and Europe. Proposals included a new eco-tourism infrastructure plan, a product that screens for infectious diseases, a zero-emission bike-share program and new telecom technology.
Criteria for judging the applications included commercial viability, strong market and financial analyses and the need in New York for the proposed product or service. Among the judges were Eugene Song (BUS’04), vice president of W Capital Partners; Ariel Muslera (BUS’05), director of strategy and product development for Latin America Venture Capital Association; and Somak Chattopadhyay (BUS’06), vice president of Greenhill Capital Partners.
The mayor was joined at the podium by Robert C. Lieber, deputy mayor for economic development; Seth W. Pinsky, president of the Economic Development Corporation; and Christopher Mayer
, the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate and senior vice dean of the business school.
In his welcoming remarks, Robert Kasdin
, Columbia’s senior executive vice president, applauded the Bloomberg administration’s commitment to education and “the power of ideas.” He said, “it’s entirely appropriate for Columbia to partner with Mayor Bloomberg in this project ... [we share] the notion that once ideas are created, they must be put to work.”