The three winning startups each took home a trophy and $1,000 at the celebration honoring local talent and ingenuity.

Winners of the first annual Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Awards were announced last night at a special celebration at Circa Brewery. Following a month of public voting that drew over 1,000 votes, representatives from 14 startups, the Make It in Brooklyn community, and members of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, came out to see who would take home the gold.

The first award, the MaryAnne Gilmartin Innovation Award (for female-founded startups), was won by Benefit Kitchen, a startup that have developed technology that helps people understand their eligibility for public benefits and how to apply for them. Their work connects average citizens to federal funds they may not realize exist – a common issue that has results in $80 billion in unclaimed benefits each year. Announced by DBP President Regina Myer, the award was accepted by Benefit Kitchen CTO Daniel Beeby, on behalf of cofounder, Melanie Lavelle.

Smart City Startup of the Year went to Hylas, a startup working on the world’s first and best-in-class biodigester for domestic use. The product recycles organics into renewable bio-gas that can be used for cooking at home. Aiming to revolutionize the way people think of their food waste, the company is poised to make a lasting impact on home recycling. The award was presented by NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering Dean, Jelena Kovačević, to cofounders Shivani Mistry and Shamir Hyman.

DBP Chair and TerraCRG founder and CEO, Ofer Cohen, presented the final award – Innovator of the Year. The winning startup was Nexloop, a startup developing technology to capture, store, and distribute water for local food production. Mimicking patterns found in nature, they hope to meet a growing demand for local agriculture and improve sustainability.

Congratulations to the winning startups, and to all of the nominees, and thank you to sponsors NYU Tandon School of Engineering and JP Morgan Chase – and to everyone who voted! These awards not only celebrate the innovators who are changing the way we live, but also highlight importance of Brooklyn as a center of creativity and technological advancement. We look forward to seeing this trend continue in 2019, and beyond, and to continuing our support of Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial community with the Make It in Brooklyn program.

Stay in the loop on all things innovation – sign up to the Make It in Brooklyn newsletter to receive the latest news and updates.