Meet Your 2012 NYC Venture Fellows: The Founders of Warby Parker, MakerBot, Yipit, and More


On its Tumblr, the New York City Economic Development Corporation posted an announcement this afternoon about the 28 individuals named to the city’s NYC Venture Fellows Program. The press release was actually issued last Tuesday, the NYCEDC confirmed by phone, but was only just added to Tumblr. C’mon, guys, until they plant that RSS chip in our brains, you gotta get with El Bloombito’s new social media agenda: everything updated all a’ the time.

This is the second year of the Venture Fellows program, developed with the agency along with Fordham University. “NYC Venture Fellows promotes emerging business leaders and encourages international entrepreneurs to start or expand their operations in New York City. The program connects fellows with mentors who are investors, serial entrepreneurs, CEOS, and operational managers from New York City and abroad.”

Combine that description with the word “fellows” and you might picture some accelerator-stage startups in real need of mentorship and connections, not far off the the lean Ramen life. Not so with the 28 rising stars on this year’s list, which includes BillGuard founder and CEO Yaron Samid, MakerBot cofounder and CEO Bre Pettis, Warby Parker cofounder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa, and charity: water founder and CEO Scott Harrison.

But if the city’s competition for the tech campus wasn’t enough of a clue, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYCEDC are thinking global, which means our promising tech companies need to get great. As EDC president Seth Pinsky said of the program:

“Through innovative programs like Venture Fellows and World to NYC, we will ensure that New York City continues to strengthen its position in an era of increasing global competition. By introducing established businesses to the many opportunities that exist within the five boroughs—as well as providing emerging entrepreneurs with the mentorship needed for their businesses to take the critical next steps towards success—we are confident New York City will remain the global hub of business and innovation well into the 21st century.”

Here’s the full list:

  • DonorsChoose Co-founder and Chief Executive Charles Best
  • BaseKit Co-founder and CTO Simon Best
  • Medivo, Inc. Co-founder and CEO Sundeep Bhan
  • EnNatura Technology Ventures Co-founder and CEO Sidhartha Kumar Bhimania
  • Warby Parker Co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal
  • H.Bloom Co-founder and CEO Bryan Burkhart
  • MBA & Company Founder and MD Daniel Callaghan
  • Co-founder and CEO Shawn Cheng
  • Catchafire Founder and CEO Rachael Chong
  • Rent the Runway Co-founder and President Jennifer Fleiss
  • Co-founder and CEO Guillaume Gauthereau
  • Warby Parker Co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa
  • charity: water Founder and CEO Scott Harrison
  • Paperless Post Co-founder Alexa Hirschfeld
  • Miniwiz Founder and MD Arthur Huang
  • Rent the Runway Co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman
  • Lot18 Co-founder and President Philip James
  • Student Competitions Co-founder, Chairman and CFO Robert Lyngman
  • Founder and CEO Shauna Mei
  • The IOU Project Founder and Creative Director Kavita Parmar
  • MakerBot Industries Co-founder and CEO Bre Pettis
  • BillGuard Founder and CEO Yaron Samid
  • Papayamobile Co-founder and CEO Si Shen
  • South Pole Carbon Asset Management Ltd. Co-founder and CEO Christoph Sutter
  • LanguageMate Founder and CEO Bill Tan
  • soleRebels Co-founder and MD Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
  • Yipit Co-founder and CEO Vinicius Vacanti
  • LearnVest Founder and CEO Alexa von Tobel
Meet Your 2012 NYC Venture Fellows: The Founders of Warby Parker, MakerBot, Yipit, and More