FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2012
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES FIRST CITY-SPONSORED SMALL BUSINESS INCUBATOR IS SET TO GRADUATE 22 COMPANIES, THREE YEARS AFTER LAUNCH
NYU-Poly Varick Street Incubator Has Already Graduated 12 Innovative Start-Up Companies, With 10 More Set To Move Out in the Coming Months, Supporting More Than 300 Jobs
The Growing Network of City-Sponsored Incubators Now Includes 10 Across the City, Supporting More Than 550 Businesses and More Than 900 Jobs
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, and Polytechnic Institute of New York University President Jerry M. Hultin today announced that 22 companies have graduated or will soon graduate from the Varick Street Incubator, the first in the growing network of City-sponsored business incubators. This diverse roster of innovative companies includes 12 businesses that have already graduated from the Varick Street Incubator in recent months, and 10 more that are set to graduate between April and July. Collectively, these 22 companies have already created more than 300 jobs. Launched in 2009 as a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Trinity Real Estate, the Varick Street Incubator provides low-cost office space and valuable training to emerging innovative technology companies. The Mayor was also joined at the announcement at the incubator’s new space at 137 Varick Street by Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, President of Trinity Real Estate Jason D. Pizer, President and CEO of the Hudson Square Connection Ellen Baer, and several representatives from incubator companies.
“Over the past three years, we’ve launched a total of 10 small business incubators, and today we are seeing the fruits of our labor: successful companies and good jobs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “What started on Varick Street three years ago has now spread throughout the city. At all of our incubators, big ideas are being hatched and innovative companies are being born.”
“New York City is a magnet for the top entrepreneurial talent in the world, and Mayor Bloomberg is committed to accelerating the development of our start-up sector by encouraging promising new companies at the City’s network of incubators,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “We’re not only confident in the future of today’s graduating companies but also in the long-term trajectory of New York City’s innovation-driven economy.”
“NYU-Poly is proud to have blazed the trail for City-sponsored incubators, and we are proud of the entrepreneurs who have built strong companies with us,” said NYU-Poly President Hultin. “Equally important, the NYU-Poly Varick Street Incubator has amplified our school’s culture of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship – what we call i-squared-e. The startup companies have inspired our students to expand their own entrepreneurial ambitions, and they have turned more than a dozen of our students into full-time employees, opening a new path for talented young engineers and technical graduates to remain in the city of their dreams. We commend the City and our business partners for the vision and energy they brought to this initiative.”
“Today’s announcement is evidence that the Varick Street Incubator is helping people realize their entrepreneurial dreams and putting New Yorkers back to work,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I’m thrilled that our first City-sponsored incubator is yielding such success stories, and I am optimistic our other nine, and all future City-sponsored business incubators, will do the same. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Seth Pinsky, and NYU-Poly for their continued dedication to small business growth and job creation in our City.”
“Three years ago, we made a relatively modest investment in the Varick Street incubator with the goal of fostering entrepreneurship across the five boroughs,” said NYCEDC President Pinsky. “With the first wave of incubator companies now expanding all across the City, today’s announcement is more proof that New York is quickly emerging as one of the most dynamic locations in which to start a new business, and we are well on our way to becoming a global hub for innovation in the 21st century and beyond.”
“The Varick Street incubator helps small businesses start and grow by providing affordable office space in New York City, as well as a place for smart and talented people to come together and work on ideas,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Incubators help create a stronger economy and more jobs for New Yorkers by supporting small businesses, and through our NYC Business Solutions Centers, we are ready to continue supporting these businesses with all their future needs.”
Over the past three years, the Varick Street incubator has demonstrated remarkable success in allowing its companies to thrive. Collectively, they have raised $38 million in investor funding, and created more than 400 jobs. The companies at the incubator have also mentored student interns, providing them with opportunities to explore entrepreneurial career paths. The City’s incubators, which now total 10, are part of suite of initiatives launched by the Bloomberg Administration in order to spur innovation and entrepreneurship across a variety of sectors.
In 2009, as part of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to ensure that New York City becomes a global hub for innovation for the 21st century, NYCEDC agreed to provide a $100,000 capital grant to establish the Varick Street Incubator, and helped negotiate a three-year lease between the landlord, Trinity Real Estate, which contributed the space, and NYU-Poly, the facility operator. The incubator was originally located at 160 Varick Street and offered start-ups high-quality, ready-to-use office space equipped with basic business services and administrative support. Over the past three years, NYU-Poly also provided a variety of mentoring services, business seminars and networking opportunities for the entrepreneurs, who could sublease space at below-market rates for six months with an option to renew. In January 2012, the incubator relocated to a new space at 137 Varick Street, which will enable to better support the next generation of innovation-fueled companies. To help meet the growing demand from high-tech startups, the City and NYU-Poly, along with Two Trees Management, opened another incubator in January 2012 in DUMBO.
The City’s network of incubators is part of the Administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of economic sectors. Through the incubators, the Administration is providing low-cost office space – more than 120,000 square feet to date - as well as training and networking opportunities to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses. Approximately 550 startup businesses are currently located at City-sponsored incubators, and companies have raised more than $78 million in investor funding. The number of employees currently working at the incubators is more than 900. Some of these tenants have already graduated into market-rate space and continue to expand. The City’s network of incubators include, among others, Hive at 55, a co-working facility for freelancers in Manhattan; and General Assembly, a technology and design campus in Flatiron. Last fall the City announced a Request for Proposals for a small business incubator to be located along 125th Street in Harlem, and in January the Mayor opened the first small business incubator in the Bronx. And in 2010 the City launched the New York City Entrepreneurial Fund, the first City-sponsored seed and early-stage investment fund located outside of Silicon Valley. The fund makes up to $22 million available to New York City-based technology startups.
Recently Graduated Varick Street Incubator Companies:
Upcoming Varick Street Incubator Graduates:
“This incubator illustrates how real jobs are created when public-private partnerships are designed to serve entrepreneurs,” said NYU-Poly Director of Incubator Initiatives Micah Kotch. “From day one, we've been focused on results. Three years in, I am proud that one-third of all our companies are poised to take the next steps: expanding to accommodate their growing teams. Our high success rate is due in large part to the community we've curated and the quality of the ventures who contribute to the space – and that is a testament to the vibrancy of the tech ecosystem in New York City.”
“After graduation from MIT, we relocated Pixable from Boston to NY,” said Andres Blank, Founder and COO of Pixable, the Varick Street Incubator’s first graduate. “Being part of the incubator helped us tap into the entrepreneurial and tech community in New York very quickly. The network is super important (both professionally and personally) -- especially sharing ‘war stories’ with fellow entrepreneurs. Or getting advice about what is a good accounting firm, payroll firm, health insurance provider, and the like. Working from an incubator, instead of a single office or from our apartment, helped us stay more focused and work harder because of the peer pressure from startups next to us who were working hard and making progress. The fact that it was affordable helped us stay in Manhattan, vs. moving the company to New Jersey or staying in Boston. Finally, it helped build credibility when recruiting or meeting investors. We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for this initiative of Mayor Bloomberg.”
“We found ourselves in the midst of the Great Recession while bootstrapping Hotlist,” said Chris Mirabile, Co-Founder & CEO, Hotlist “It was the incubator’s affordability and resources that enabled us to put together the plan, product, and team that was needed to raise the necessary capital for growing Hotlist into a business.”
“We’ve just announced both a new software product and a new streaming and download service for premium digital content,” said Steven Asherman, President and Chief Technology Officer of Base One International: “The NYU-Poly incubator has enabled us to weather the recession and attract new clients, as well as bootstrap our e-commerce startup. It is a credit to the university staff as well as Mayor Bloomberg’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan that the incubator has grown the way it has through the years.”
“The incubator has been a large part of our success,” said Clifton C. Berry, Founder of Clifton Charles. “From the many resources and networking opportunities provided, to the personal and professional friendships developed, our involvement with the incubator has been invaluable. Specifically, we have contracted with six of our incubator colleagues for services, including web development, design and marketing. The incubator has provided us with a solid foundation upon which we will continue to grow.”
“As the City’s home of the innovation economy, Hudson Square is the perfect place to grow new ideas” said Ellen Baer, President of the Hudson Square Connection. “Our buildings and byways breathe creative energy, providing the soil where ideas can grow and flourish into thriving businesses. We applaud the partnership of the City, NYU-Poly and Trinity and look forward to celebrating the graduation of even more innovative, job-generating companies in the future.”
“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University for developing this innovative and monumental business incubator,” said Council Member Diana Reyna. “The Varick Street Incubator is an example of how well-focused policy can stimulate growth in these hard economic times. Today’s graduates will create jobs for New Yorkers and advance our City’s growing technical industry.”
“We are delighted to help support this incubator where ideas take root and flourish. Congratulations to today’s graduates, destined to become tomorrow’s success stories – much like Pixable, one of the first graduates and now a full tenant on the this building’s sixth floor,” said Jason Pizer, President of Trinity Real Estate.
Stu Loeser/Julie Wood (212) 788-2958
Patrick Muncie (NYCEDC) (212) 312-3523
Kathleen Hamilton (NYU-Poly) (718) 260-3792
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