FAQs

How does the Transit Tech Lab work?

Applicants participate in a rigorous selection process that may include in-person presentations. At the conclusion of the application process, the MTA will select companies to participate in an 8-week accelerator to learn about the MTA and modify their technology to meet the transit system's needs. Following the accelerator, the MTA will select the most promising companies to deploy a 12-month, unpaid pilot with the transit system. The Transit Tech Lab offers companies an opportunity to demonstrate their technology in the nation’s largest transit systems and receive mentorship.

Do companies receive compensation for participating in the Transit Tech Lab?

 

There is no compensation for participation in the Transit Tech Lab, and pilots are unpaid. Companies may apply for limited grant funding from NYSERDA.

Who are the Transit Tech Lab private sector evaluators participating alongside MTA subject matter experts?

 

Reilly Brennan, General Partner, Trucks Venture Capital
Clara Brenner, Managing Partner, Urban Innovation Fund
Ken Bronfin, Senior Managing Director & Head of International Investments, Hearst Ventures
Maria Gotsch, President & CEO, Partnership Fund for New York City
Nick Grossman, Partner, Union Square Ventures
Hilary Gosher, Managing Director, Insight Partners
Dylan Hixon, Principal, Arden Road Investments
Linda Kirkpatrick, Executive Vice President, U.S. Market Development, Mastercard
Brian Yormak, Partner, Story Ventures

What are the evaluation criteria for Transit Tech Lab applications?

 

25% Impact: Technology is workable in the MTA's environment, presents a viable solution relevant to the chosen challenge, and has the potential to positively impact performance and/or customer experience

25% Product: Technology is in prototype or later phase and available for live demonstration and the applicant is able to present metrics illustrating market fit and use by paying customers

25% Team: The company has a qualified team and is available for participation in person in New York City throughout the Transit Tech Lab program

25% Value: The technology presents a new way of deriving more value from existing MTA assets, presents a potential new revenue source or cost savings for the MTA and/or offers an opportunity to more efficiently manage infrastructure, operations or customer service

Program Questions

Who is eligible to apply for the Transit Tech Lab?

Companies must meet the following criteria to apply to the Transit Tech Lab:

  • Early- to growth-stage company with innovative solution to one of the selected challenge areas
  • Company has at least a working beta version of their technology and a proven track record of successfully delivering to customers
  • A corporation, joint venture, partnership, or LLC as defined by law
  • Companies based in New York state or that are expanding into New York state
  • Company is independently owned and operated*
  • Company employs 200 or fewer persons*
  • Company is not a subsidiary of a larger entity*
  • Company representatives are available to participate in live virtual presentations, demo day and for duration of proof of concept

*Please note that for the COVID-19 Response Challenge, larger companies are permitted to apply. See COVID-19 Challenge Addendum. 

Does an applicant have to be U.S. corporation? 

Applicants from other countries can apply, but must be registered to do business in New York.

Companies incorporated outside New York state who wish to participate in the Transit Tech Lab must complete the following steps prior to starting the proof of concept or pilot: 

If your company is not incorporated in New York state please:

  1. Obtain a 'Certificate of Good Standing' or 'Certificate of Existence' from the U.S. state or foreign country where your company incorporated.
  2. Complete the New York state Department of State 'Application for Authority' form located here: https://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/1335-f-a.pdf. Please note this form has a filing fee of $225 USD.

More information on the New York state Department of State website:
https://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/buscorp.html#appauth

What is the application process for the Transit Tech Lab like?

The application process is run on a platform called F6S.com—it is fairly standard for startup accelerators and streamlined compared to a government RFP.

How many companies will be selected for the Lab?

There is no pre-set desired number, the numbers selected will depend on the quality of the applications.

In best case scenario how would a pilot benefit the selected startup pilot partners?

Pilots are unpaid, with some grant funding available from NYSERDA, and companies retain all IP. The transit agency gets a license for the duration of the pilot and a period of time following the pilot. The Lab is an opportunity for companies to get their technology in front of key decision makers at New York's major transit agencies. If chosen for the accelerator, it’s a chance for companies to refine tech for the largest transit systems in North America, and there is significant value in pointing to experience with the MTA and other agencies. 

What are the next steps if a pilot is successful?

Post-pilot, the standard route is that the transit agency will issue a competitive RFP, but this will be decided case-by-case and there may be flexibility for agencies to negotiate a contract directly if the product is unique and there is little competition on the market. Most cases will likely result in a competitive solicitation.

What happens in the accelerator phase?

The accelerator starts with the definition of goals for the next 8 weeks, with the objective to arrive at a decision to move forward with a yearlong pilot at the conclusion of the program. This creates urgency and structure that facilitates a meaningful proof of concept in short period of time. Programming includes tours of operational control centers, meetings with agency leaders and program support from the Transit Tech Lab staff. Coworking space is available if it is needed.

What is the ideal size and scope of a Transit Tech Lab project?

For the initial proof of concept, we look for a small, targeted scope that can be implemented and measured within 8 weeks, with the ability to scale up to serve the entire agency if proven.

What is the role of Transit Tech Lab? How will they support selected participants?

The Transit Tech Lab administers the Lab. We set up the process, recruit companies, ensure all information is submitted, and support the subject matter evaluators from the transit agencies, private sector and public health world as they evaluate companies. After selection, we ensure a successful proof or concept and/or pilot by helping to address any hurdles.

Have any previous pilots led to commercial agreements?

Yes, for example Remix was selected for a yearlong pilot and successfully moved to a commercial engagement with MTA - New York City Transit

Will a technology that takes more than 8 weeks validate be excluded from consideration?

No. This can be addressed in a case by case basis. We encourage you to apply via the F6S portal.

What is the difference between the semi-finalist presentation and the demo day?

On pitch day you will have the opportunity to present your solution to leaders across regional transit agencies and private sector experts. Each presenting team will have a total of 25 minutes: 10 minute oral presentation with slides and 15 minutes of Q&A from the judges.

Evaluators will select companies to demonstrate their product at the end of each pitch day. On demo day you will have the opportunity to present your product to a wider audience of regional transit subject matter experts in a fair-style exposition.

Both events will be held online.

Can a company submit more than one solution? If so, should each solution be submitted separately?

Yes, you can submit multiple solutions. Each solution should be submitted separately.

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