Venture Catalysts for the Clean Economy

Partnering with innovators to drive scale, profit, and impact

Creative Collisions in Downtown Brooklyn

February 18, 2014

Downtown Manhattan as seen from the 19th floor of 15 Metrotech

Downtown Manhattan as seen from the 19th floor of 15 Metrotech

At the beginning of 2014, we started making our new home at the recently opened Urban Future Lab coworking space in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle.  This creative and inspiring environment is a natural fit for Pure Energy.  Our business is all about catalyzing growth for cleanweb startups and launching major initiatives that are sparking a cleaner, more innovative economy.  After moving in at the start of the year, we quickly began to benefit from our proximity to Micah Kotch, Emily Wheeler and the great community of clean economy entrepreneurs they’ve convened at NYC ACRE.

There are a lot of things to love about our new office, besides the stunning views and my new 10-minute commute by foot. Within just a few days, I noticed that so many great things were serendipitously happening that I started writing down specific ways we’ve benefited from our new environment.  Here are a few:

  • Real-time Collaboration – We were considering putting together a proposal to develop a cleantech commercialization toolkit for NYSERDA.  The project perfectly fit our expertise but we knew we’d be better off working with good partners.  We walked into Emily’s office twenty feet away to discuss the opportunity and found out that ACRE was considering the same project. Within just a couple days Pure Energy, ACRE ,and Ali Adler from the NECEC Institute joined forces to submit a proposal as a team. This probably wouldn’t have happened so smoothly and naturally over email.

  • Shared Resources – Our commercialization toolkit concept was partially inspired by Steve Blank’s ideas on customer development.  A few of us were brainstorming about our proposal and I happened to look down at a box of books that our neighbors Hevo Power brought in for their book shelf.  Right on top was Blank’s The Startup Owner’s Manual, which we borrowed and ended up referencing throughout our proposal.

  • Serendipitous Encounters – NYC ACRE is dedicated to growing an ecosystem of problem solvers focused on big climate and energy challenges. The space plays host to an endless stream of entrepreneurs, international companies, innovative local businesses, and investors.  As visitors have toured the space, we’ve been able to reconnect with old friends and develop relationships with new and interesting people who are working on projects relevant to our business.  For example, the other day I met someone who is a great potential customer for one of our portfolio companies.

  • Eyewitnessing Makers – It’s great to read about entrepreneurs who are building cool products that are solving problems that you personally experience.  It’s even cooler and more inspiring to actually witness this.  A couple weeks ago, Marshall Cox and his team from Radiator Labs were assembling several units of their Cozy product for an upcoming installation.  The Cozy is designed to solve the problem of wasteful steam heat that is prevalent in many cities including New York.  At the time of writing this, it’s 25 degrees outside and my windows are wide open because I have no control over the fugitive steam escaping my radiator.  It was great to see them assembling components and putting together hardware that can go a long way towards making urban buildings more efficient. Check out their kickstarter campaign and contribute if you can.

We’re looking forward to more of these great moments and connections.  If you’re visiting Downtown Brooklyn from out of town or from across the bridge in Manhattan, do stop by and see us.

~ Sameer