Silicon Alley and the NY EDC: What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $22 million fund for startups at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. The city contributed $3 million to the fund; the rest came from FirstMark Capital, which will be managing it. The fund is for early stage, NYC-based companies.

Its first investment was $600,000 in MyCityWay, a platform for city-centric mobile apps. The Fund had invested $6.2 million in 181 loans as of the second quarter of 2010.

The NYC BigApps Competition rewards developers of the best and most impactful applications built with city data available on Data Mine. The prize is $20,000 in cash. The event was considered a success with 85 apps entered.

NYC angel investor Fred Wilson was one of the judges last year and wrote that it was "a thrill to see the mayor up there on stage with NYC entrepreneurs. He's the most successful tech entrepreneur in NYC but we don't see him very much in the tech scene." The second BigApps contest will be in February.

The city started this international program to help successful entrepreneurs scale and create jobs in New York City. It was established by NYCEDC with partner Fordham University. The goal of the program is to encourage international and non-NYC entrepreneurs to open offices in NYC.

Each year, 20 to 30 entrepreneurs from New York City and around the world are selected through a competitive nomination process. Fellows get mentorship, office space and access to networking events.

Current fellows include Dennis Crowley of Foursquare, Alexis Maybank of Gilt Groupe and Rob Kalin of Etsy.

This event, held at the IAC building in December, was designed to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about NYCEDC initiatives and network with entrepreneurs from the startup, financing, and corporate sectors.

Partners from VC firms including Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures), Owen Davis (NYC Seed), Lawrence Lenihan (FirstMark Capital), and Arrun Kapoor (SJF Ventures) participated in investor bar discussions.


A website for connecting entrepreneurs to resources around the city, including a directory of companies, fact sheets about the benefits to being in New York, news, an event calendar, legal and marketing resources and real estate info.

"Find all the tools you need to help you get started and grow your business in New York City," the site says.

NYU-Poly and the City of New York launched the Varick Street Incubator at 160 Varick in July 2009. The incubator is open to any freelancers or startups but is targeted toward cleantech, biotech, cybersecurity, digital and social media, financial technology and IT.

The EDC has also given grants to coworking spaces including Hive at 55, which opened in December 2009 at 55 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan.

The semifinalists have been selected for this international competition, now in its second year. Undergraduate students from around the world submit ideas for a business plan.

The prize is a week-long trip to New York City in April 2011, where they will attend a networking event with New York City-based investors, entrepreneurs, professors, and government officials and be evangelized to move here and start the business.


Mayor Bloomberg and the EDC announced that the city is hunting for a university, applied science organization or related institution to develop and operate an applied sciences research facility in New York City.

The City has promised as much as $100 million for the project and will also help with real estate (the City suggested the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Roosevelt Island, Governor’s Island, and the Farm Colony on Staten Island). "A new, state-of-the-art applied sciences research school would be a major asset for New York City as we develop a 21st century innovation economy," Bloomberg said.

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