By Molly A. Seltzer
NEC Labs America, an industrial lab that provides research solutions to corporate customers, and 2150, a global venture capital firm focused on funding sustainability startups, have joined Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, a corporate membership program administered by the Andlinger Center.
NEC Labs America, the U.S. base for the NEC Labs’ global network of corporate research laboratories, provides customized research on information and network technologies for companies in a range of industries, including aviation, healthcare, satellite, manufacturing, and telecommunications. 2150 is a venture capital firm with offices in London, Copenhagen and Berlin. It was established to fund companies that are taking on big sustainability challenges, specifically startups that improve the resiliency of cities. Both join to tap into the expertise at Princeton in technology related to the burgeoning energy systems and decarbonization fields.
NEC Labs America fills a niche between academia and corporate research and development, and works to open up new markets for its clients by connecting fundamental research advances in networking, systems, data science, machine learning, and media analytics with critical customer needs. NEC Labs America has two offices in the United States, in Princeton, NJ and San Jose, CA. Chris White, president of NEC Labs America, said joining E-ffiliates is part of the company’s push to connect to U.S. government agencies, universities, and companies. Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership offers contact with a breadth of researchers and companies involved with Princeton, a diversity of perspectives, collaborators and excellent students. The partnership with NEC Labs America builds on the company’s previous work with Princeton on atmospheric sensing technology, and will expand to include areas such as artificial intelligence and privacy, 5G networks, cyber security, and robotics.
2150’s name refers to that the company hopes to support: innovations that will help ensure an environmentally prosperous 2150. Co-founder and managing partner Christian Hernandez said the company is looking for technologies that will reduce emissions and improve the quality of life for people in cities. Hernandez, a former Facebook executive and venture capitalist, said he was inspired to establish the fund after attending Princeton’s first executive education seminar, “Leadership in Energy Innovation and Environmental Consideration.” The module was hosted by the Andlinger Center in 2018 and helps executives understand how decision makers could integrate environmental risk assessments and other considerations into their corporate systems and processes. Andlinger Center director, Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, also sits on 2150’s advisory board.
According to Barry Rand, associate director for external partnerships at the Andlinger Center, the two firms represent an expansion of the types of companies that are interested in the offerings the Andlinger Center and larger Princeton scholarly community provides. These include industries that are affected by or investing in energy transitions, and industries that help companies or communities prepare for or take advantage of the business implications and opportunities of such transitions.
“It’s becoming clear to companies that a low-carbon future is coming, and they want to be part of it and adapt their businesses to it,” said Rand, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. “Our program helps them be on the cutting-edge of research and technology in this space. And our community gets to help these organizations and institutions that have ambitions to lead in a cleaner future, move to low-carbon processes and products, and cultivate a better world.”