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PR- 007-10
January 7, 2010


Teams from Ten Leading International Business and Engineering Schools in Europe, Asia and Latin America Submitted Final Proposals

Mayor: Difficulty Teams Now Face Obtaining Visas and Launching Plans Highlights Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the entrepreneur team from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has been selected as the winner of NYC Next Idea 2009-2010, an inaugural global business plan competition launched by New York City last year. The team, Greenext Technology Solutions, devised a new system to allow utility companies and energy producers to store and distribute energy through remote sites across the five boroughs safely and efficiently, and was selected by a panel of judges from New York City’s venture capital community to receive a $20,000 cash prize. The NYC Next Idea competition was announced in February 2009 as part of a suite of initiatives dedicated to strengthening New York City’s entrepreneurial community. The competition was launched to raise the visibility of the City as an international center for innovation and entrepreneurship and showcase the talent from business and engineering schools around the world, while also encouraging innovative business ventures that can launch and operate here. The Mayor was joined at the announcement at Columbia Business School, which helped administer the competition, by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama, Columbia University Senior Executive Vice President Robert Kasdin, Laura Resnikoff, director of the Columbia Business School Private Equity Program and the three finalist teams from India, Spain and France.

“Cities around the world hope to be a place of innovation where entrepreneurs want to go to launch businesses,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City doesn’t have to hope – we are that place. Just look at the talented teams from the world’s leading business and engineering schools that participated in our NYC Next Idea inaugural global business plan competition. But it’s not enough to be a place entrepreneurs want to go; we also have to make sure our city – and our country – is a place they can go. That’s why we are committed to working with the Obama Administration to pursue sensible immigration reform. No one can say for sure whether the finalists’ ideas will translate into successful job-creating businesses. What a shame, though, if they and countless others are denied the opportunity even to try.”

Fifteen leading business and engineering universities from countries across Asia, Latin America, and Europe signed up to participate in NYC Next Idea 2009-2010, and ten teams submitted final proposals. The three teams of finalists representing business and engineering schools in France, Spain, and India were in New York City this week to present their plans. Business plans targeted sectors such as Financial Services, Media & Technology, Green Technology and Bioscience, and included a new screening product for infectious diseases, a zero-emission bike-share program, and new telecom technology. In addition to the cash prize, the winning team will be offered free space within one of the City’s new business incubators for two years.

“To continue to grow and innovate New York City must continue to attract the best and the brightest from around the globe,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “NYC Next Idea helps us expand New York City’s standing as a global center for innovation and entrepreneurship and bring leading business students to launch their firms here. By making it easier to get a business off the ground, and setting the stage for growth across a variety of sectors New York City will be better poised to capture growth and create jobs moving forward.”

“A key to maintaining New York’s status as the world’s economic capital is ensuring that we continue to attract and retain talented entrepreneurs from around the globe,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “To this end, we recently launched our new NYC Next Idea competition – a competition designed to bring the business leaders of tomorrow to the City, today. We are thrilled that this competition has been such a success in its inaugural year and are proud to add it to our growing list of offerings aimed at the entrepreneurial community, including programs providing access to much-needed start-up financing and inexpensive space, as well as training and networking opportunities.”

The competition, administered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and supported by Columbia Business School, was open to new, independent ventures in the conceptual, seed, start-up, or early growth stages, and business concepts that included the expansion of an existing venture into New York City. Criteria for judging the applications included commercial viability of the product or service; market analysis and a need for the product or service in New York City; comprehensiveness of the company’s sales and marketing plan; the company’s competitive differentiation over other players in the market; caliber of team members and advisors; financial analysis; and coherency of the final presentation.

“This competition is about discovering the next generation of business innovators in New York City, and we’re grateful 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 New York City Economic Development Corporation’s competition team.

The other finalists were Biofont from INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France, and NYCycling from IESE Business School of the University of Navarra, Spain. The teams were judged in the final round by FirstMark Capital CEO and Managing Director Lawrence Lenihan, RRE Ventures General Partner Will D. Porteous, Greycroft LLC Partner Andrew B. Lipsher, Ascent Biomedical Ventures Partner Arthur Tinkelenberg, Ph.D, and NYCEDC Executive Vice President Steven Strauss, Ph.D. Columbia Business School alumni including W Capital Partners Vice President Eugene Song, Latin America Venture Capital Association Director of Strategy and Product Development Ariel Muslera, and Greenhill Capital Partners Vice President Somak Chattopadhyay judged the second round. NYCEDC  released a Request for Proposals today to solicit a university partner for NYC Next Idea 2010-2011. Information on the RFP will be available at

In the last year alone, the City has announced more 50 initiatives to address a wide range of obstacles faced by the small- and medium-size businesses throughout the five boroughs who are creating the building blocks of our new economy. These range from lowering taxes, to increasing capital availability, to starting training and networking programs, to providing opportunities to secure thousands of discounted work stations across the five boroughs.

Below are summaries of the finalist plans provided by the three teams:


  • University: INSEAD: Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (European Institute for Business Administration) – FRANCE
  • Team members: Harleen Jolly and Ankit Bisht

With pandemic outbreaks of infections increasing in frequency, there is a clear need for screening tools to detect individuals with infectious diseases, especially in densely populated and highly interconnected urban areas such as New York City. BioFont is a biotechnology proposal that has developed a ground-breaking product that can be used to screen individuals for infectious diseases in an expeditious and accurate manner. Though methods exist to screen large numbers of people for potentially contagious illnesses, none are affordable, quick, or easily used without detailed training.

BioFont is taking advantage of the latest breakthroughs in biotechnology, and the major paradigm shift in the healthcare sector away from laboratory table-top blood analyzers to develop a product that is affordable, simple to use, and provides accurate and quick results. The product is a combination of a portable electronic analyzer and disposable test strips, which process and display results in a simple yes/no format. Beyond the healthcare sector, BioFont envisages a demand for this product in New York City’s schools, airports, public places, households, and workplaces. 


  • University: IESE: Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (Institute of Higher Business Studies) – SPAIN
  • Team members: Patricia Bayley, Adrian Lui and Martin Mazza

NYCycling is an innovative zero-emission bike-share program designed to transport users from one destination to the next within New York City. This new, clean and healthy transportation alternative is composed of a system of self-service stations at which users can rent bicycles, ride them to their destination, and return them to the nearest station. The program offers a creative solution that alleviates transportation bottlenecks and utilizes the existing infrastructure in New York City’s current transportation system – over 600 miles of bike paths traversing the metropolis. 

Learning from established bike-share programs, NYCycling aims to offer a high service level for a responsible price to cyclists in New York City.  Through partnerships with corporations, non-profits, and law enforcements, NYCycling also aims to become a successful and publicly appreciated alternative form of local transportation.


  • University: IIT: Indian Institute of Technology Madras – INDIA
  • Team members: Aashish Dattani, Sriram Kalyanaraman and Vinayshankar Kulkarni

Greenext Technology Solutions is clean-technology proposal that is pioneering specialized software and hardware solutions to utility companies, renewable energy producers, energy storage manufacturers, and energy traders. Their product, XEstor, serves as a common interface to store energy from any source across New York City into large battery storage sites. The product communicates with the electric grid and combines real-time consumer demand information with current energy prices to charge or discharge electricity into the grid. This flexible mechanism to produce or store energy based on demand can act as a backup power source to bridge supply gaps and maintain the grid’s reliability through ancillary services such as regulation and emergency response. 

The Greenext Technology Solutions team strongly believes that today’s challenges in the energy sector can be addressed through clean-technology solutions such as smart grids that hold the potential to meet growing energy demands. Greenext Technology Solutions team is convinced that with energy demand continuing to rise rapidly on the one hand and both energy availability and supply efficiency struggling to meet it on the other, financial incentives and deregulation of electricity markets will make their solution a highly viable one in the future.  And New York City is a prime locale for such technology because of its burgeoning population and energy needs, as well as an electric grid in need of innovative upgrades.

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