Competition Details

Why 76West

A $20 million competition with prize money and business development support such as training and mentoring, as well as available tax incentives. And connect and collaborate with innovators from all walks of life—from Fortune 500 and industry thought-leaders and innovators, to leading researchers and investors.

Annual Awards Breakdown

Each year, 76West will award $2.5 million in prize money to six semifinalists as follows: one grand prize of $1 million, one $500,000 prize, and four $250,000 awards, all payable in increments based on specific milestone accomplishments.

Program Support

Along with a cash prize, competition organizers will also seek to provide additional specialized support based on the winners’ business goals.

Competition Timeline

Each year the 76West competition cycle consists of an application, an online semifinalist selection, and a live pitch. Business support and development work in the Southern Tier is included for all semifinalists. Business support will continue to run after the competition for as long as companies have an obligation to maintain a presence in the Southern Tier.

Date Event
December 10, 2018 Launch of the Competition and Application
April 15, 2019 Close of Application
Late April – Early May, 2019

First Round of Judging

  • A group of expert judges reviews and scores applications
June, 2019 Semifinalists notified
June – July, 2019

Semifinalist Mentoring and Business Development

  • Semifinalists conduct business development trips to the Southern Tier
  • Semifinalists work with their mentor to plan and refine their pitch
August 6-8, 2019

Pitch Competition

  • A 3-day event in the Southern Tier featuring a live pitch to the 76West judging panel
Fall, 2019

Award Announcement

  • Prize winners announced at Award Ceremony


The Competition is open to applicants that are operating companies with a product or service that fits the 76West Clean Energy definition.

Defining Clean Energy

For the 76West Competition, clean energy products or services are defined as:

Hardware technologies, software technologies, services, or processes that broadly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and/or enable the transition to a sustainable and clean energy economy by increasing the supply of renewable energy and distributed energy resources, improving the efficiency of energy utilization at the consumer and industrial scale, improving the processes and systems that use energy, or more effectively enable energy solutions to permeate the marketplace.

To be eligible, an applicant must be an established business entity that meets two or more of the following criteria:

  • Less than seven years from date of formal organization
  • Has its first product or service in testing or pilot production
  • Pre-revenue or early revenue
  • Has a leadership team and investors working toward commercialization and profitability

If the business is a spin-off from an existing business that does not meet the above criteria, the new entity must be pursuing a substantially new technology or business model.

The following businesses are not eligible for the Competition: investment vehicles that invest in the securities of other entities, residential real property and retail businesses, sports venues, gaming and gambling businesses, places of overnight accommodation, past 76West cash-prize winners, or entertainment-related establishments. For this purpose, “retail business” means a business that is primarily engaged in making retail sales of goods or services to customers who personally visit such facilities to obtain goods or services. In addition, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters and franchise-based outlets. Also excluded are any businesses that do not fit the definition of “clean energy” above.


Each year, a panel of judges will award $2.5 million in prize money, payable in increments. Judges will base award decisions on the following criteria:

  1. Clean Energy Impact - Furtherance of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, promotion of the use of renewable energy resources, or promotion of energy efficiency
  2. Customer Value - Provision of significant value for customers for which they are willing to pay
  3. Business Model Viability - Generation of revenue and maintenance of a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business
  4. Technical Viability - Demonstrated readiness of the applicant’s technology or innovation to provide desired energy impacts and customer value in its target markets
  5. Southern Tier Job Creation - Potential for creation of high quality jobs in the Southern Tier, directly or indirectly, with secondary consideration given to New York State jobs
  6. Team - Quality and completeness of the team and their readiness to deliver

Winner Selection

Following the selection of Semifinalists, a Finals Judging Panel will hear presentations, ask questions, and recommend the winners, taking into account input from the previous judging round, and business interactions with the Semifinalists. Final decisions will rest with NYSERDA.

76West Requirements for Award Payments

76West awards will be distributed through a direct contract with NYSERDA. The payments will be based on milestones and will include standard NYSERDA recoupment terms. Awardees will not be asked to give up equity or intellectual property rights. However, in the event of company success, the award amount may be recouped without interest over an extended period of time. This rate of repayment will increase if the company moves out of New York State.

Relocation to the Southern Tier or Proof of Positive Impact on the Region

Awardees must locate in the Southern Tier region for at least 24 months.

This obligation may be met in one of the following ways:

(a) Establishing its principal place of business in the Southern Tier region, identifying its primary headquarters as its address in the Southern Tier region, and having its key officers reside in New York State within commuting distance to this location;
(b) Establishing its primary manufacturing facility within the Southern Tier region;
(c) Establishing its primary research and development facility within the Southern Tier region; or
(d) Making capital investments in property, plant and equipment in its Southern Tier location substantially greater than the amount of its award under 76West.

A company already having its principal location in New York may fulfill its obligation in one of the ways stated above. In the alternative, such an applicant may fulfill these obligations by committing to and achieving documented job creation targets. These may include jobs created directly by the company, those created at Southern Tier based suppliers, or through other strategic relationships with Southern Tier entities.

Read the full competition Terms and Conditions [PDF].

Application Options

The 76West 2019 Competition Application Period Has Ended