You never know unless you ask.
Below are some of the most asked questions about PowerBridgeNY – please take a moment and review them. If your question is not listed in our FAQs, just contact us. We will get back to you shortly.
Projects must have disclosed their invention to one of the 6 partner institutions (Brookhaven National Lab, Cornell NYC Tech, Columbia University, CUNY, NYU, or Stony Brook). You do not need to have been issued or even applied for a patent, but the invention must be disclosed before a pre-proposal application is submitted.
The funds are not for basic research, so projects should be proposing to build a commercial prototype and/or conduct in-field testing. Technologies should be around TRL 3-4 (bench-scale prototype) in order to apply.
Technologies must have a cleantech application. Areas of interest include but are not limited to energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture, water efficiency, green chemistry and waste/pollution remediation.
Finally, applicants must have someone at one of the partner institutions who is eligible to serve as a PI, as the grant funds will flow to that person at one of the partner institutions. Funds will not be supplied directly to a startup, though up to 1/3 of the project budget is allowed to be subcontracted to a startup.
If you are unsure if you meet all of the eligibility requirements, don’t hesitate to reach out to PowerBridgeNY to see if your technology would be eligible.
Awards are up to $150,000, including a 35% indirect cost rate. There is no predetermined cap on the number of awards available, but 6-8 per year are expected. Project plans for awardees are expected to be approximately 12 months long but should be predominantly driven by the milestones.
Funding will be released in tranches based upon the completion of both business and technical milestones. An initial tranche of funding will be released at the time of award, assuming the team has attended the PowerBridgeNY Bootcamp and met any prerequisites outlined in the full proposal. Funds will be withheld until all prerequisites are completed. Subsequent tranches will be released contingent upon completing their additional business and technical milestones as well as delivering their quarterly reports in a timely fashion. The funds will be released in a total of 4 tranches with the first 3 tranches being approximately 30% of the budget each and the last tranche being approximately 10%.
Funds cannot be used for tuition, marketing, intellectual property, or legal expenses (with the exception of incorporation). Subcontracts are allowed, but not in excess of 1/3 the total project budget. Capital expenditures cannot exceed $25,000 for a single piece of equipment. Allowable items include conference fees, travel for customer discovery, materials required for prototype construction, consultants (subcontracts), and graduate salaries.
Projects that meet all their Validation Grant milestones have the option to apply for an additional $50K Ignition Grant. These funds are meant to be used by the startup created during the Validation Grant phase in order to pay for such expenses as office space, legal expenses, and marketing materials. A team that receives an Ignition Grant is allowed to reimburse itself for these kinds of expenses that were incurred during the Validation Grant phase but were not allowed to be charged to the grant (e.g. licensing fees).
In order to submit a pre-proposal application, you MUST have filed a relevant invention disclosure with your home institution’s technology transfer office. If you do not know how to do this or do not know your tracking number, please contact your technology transfer office. Teams must also have identified their Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) at the time of submitting the pre-proposal application. This person can be a graduate/post-doc student in the lab who has no prior entrepreneurial experience. The EL will be responsible for completing the customer interviews and business milestones. Should a startup be formed around the technology, the EL should want to play a large role in the startup to continue driving commercialization efforts outside of the lab.
Once you are ready to apply, head to the Apply page of the website to learn about our application process and start your pre-proposal.
A PI may submit as many pre-proposal applications as desired. However, should more than one pre-proposal score high enough to move forward to the full proposal round, the PI will be asked to select one project to move forward with. The PI will be provided with all the comments from the Judges in order to help decide.
For the pre-proposal, the Judges will look mainly at the market potential of your technology, though some technical considerations may be taken into account as well. Should your team be invited to submit a full proposal, the Judges will again consider the market potential but will also evaluate the team, the technical milestones, and intellectual property status. IP reviews will be conducted by an external law firm and provided to the Judges for their consideration during the review meetings.
Validation Grants provided by PowerBridgeNY are not loans or equity investments, and the partner institutions expect no participation in the economic success of funded projects in exchange for these grants. Donations by startups resulting from work funded by PowerBridgeNY are welcomed and encouraged to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program.
Funded teams will be guided through the Lean LaunchPad customer discovery process to identify an initial target market and build a business model around serving that market. Funded teams can also expect to work very closely with experts and advisors in intellectual property, business development, technology development, regulatory matters, venture formation and incubation, licensing, and strategic partnering. Teams should also expect close oversight and monitoring of project performance to help identify issues and obstacles early on. PowerBridgeNY will also host a series of educational and networking events in order to help teams achieve their business milestones and build their startups.
Funded teams are required to check-in monthly with the PowerBridgeNY staff and participate in relevant technology transfer and marketing-related activities as required Additionally, teams are also expected to report quarterly on progress toward technical and business milestones. Funded teams are also expected to actively work with their Mentors approximately 5 hours per month. It is the team’s responsibility to ensure they are using their Mentor(s) in the best possible way.
Entrepreneurial Leads (ELs) should expect to spend approximately 15+ hours per week conducting customer interviews and working on the business milestones. In total, the team must complete at least 100 customer interviews before the end of their project (approximately 10-15 interviews per month). The EL may also be asked to represent the team at demo days, pitch events, interviews, or in other situations.
For those teams whose projects are not selected, the Judges will provide feedback so that they can address the deficiencies and re-submit an application in a future cycle, should they wish to do so. Also, projects which are not funded by PowerBridgeNY may be eligible or appropriate for other funding and technology development resources. Previous applicants will be invited to attend PowerBridgeNY networking and other events.
Yes. You can submit an application for any future cycles. However, you should make sure to address the comments you may have received from the review of your previous submission. PowerBridgeNY will also put you on the mailing list and invite your team to educational and networking events in order to learn skills that will aid you in future cycles.
Both of the lead institutions (Columbia and NYU) have had much success in commercializing technologies coming from their researchers.
Columbia University is considered to have one of the most experienced and successful technology transfer offices in the world. Since it was founded nearly 30 years ago, Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV) has managed more than 4,000 inventions and 1,800 patents and executed more than 500 licenses. These activities are supported by CTV’s 45+ staff members, $10M+ in annual investment in patent prosecution, three full-time, in-house patent attorneys and more than a dozen active outside patent counsel. Each year, CTV manages, on average, approximately 300 new inventions from Columbia inventors; files over 250 patent applications; executes 50 to 70 license agreements, and launches 15 new companies.
NYU ranks first among U.S. research universities in overall license income over the past five years and significantly above the national average in most measures of technology transfer 25 activity per research dollar expended: double the number of patents, 23 percent above the national average in new licenses signed, and 40 percent above the national average in startups created. Each year, the Office of Industrial Liaison (OIL) employs its 11 staff members and $3.9 million budget to generate 8-12 licenses and 2-5 start-ups per year. In total, OIL has helped create 67 companies based on NYU technologies both in the biosciences and the physical sciences and from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.