Alexandria Sica (center), Executive Director of the DUMBO Improvement District, mingles with some of the incubator's aspiring entrepreneurs
Last Thursday night, hopeful occupants of NYU-Poly’s second New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)-supported incubator, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), had the opportunity to tour the freshly finished space at an open house event cohosted by the innovative DUMBO Improvement District (DUMBO BID). The offices, marked by generous windows, high ceilings and all of the ruggedly-sophisticated design elements, including Herman Miller furnishings, one would associate with a modern boutique office space, will focus on digital media and technology.
Caroline Pardo, Director of Leasing at Two Trees Management, spoke during the evening’s events about the firm’s excitement to be working with NYU-Poly. A pioneering real estate firm, Two Trees is largely responsible for reestablishing the DUMBO neighborhood as a cultural, residential and technology hotspot within the borough and city. Just last summer, the firm donated antennas and equipment to create DUMBO Wi-Fi, a free outdoor wireless network stretching along the neighborhood’s popular waterfront park and beyond.
“I know NYU-Poly opened the incubator in SoHo first to get it right, before bringing one to Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said, getting a laugh from the attendees with his exuberant regard for his favorite borough. “There’s no question the incubators work,” he continued. “The partnership is unbelievable and we’re in desperate need of your brilliance.”
The NYU-Poly Incubator at 20 Jay Street, with more than 30 dedicated work stations and an equal number of flexible access work stations located in the adjoining event and seminar room, is meant to offer more than a desk at which to work. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs will have access to networking opportunities through Brooklyn, New York City and the global marketplace, access to free and discounted legal and accounting guidance and to the expertise of NYU-Poly’s faculty and the chance to attend office hours with well known entrepreneurs, among other advantages.
“DUMBO is one of the dynamic hubs of start-up activity in the city,” said Seth Pinsky, President of NYCEDC. “Combining the energy of NYU-Poly with that of the neighborhood feels like a perfect match for success.”
“We think of this incubator as an accelerator,” said NYU-Poly President Jerry Hultin at the open house. “We want you to become strong enough so that you can move out quickly and become part of the community.” He added that one of the strengths of these incubators is their ability to match up bright talent with mentors and professionals, and, in turn, financing for their ideas.
With NYU-Poly’s successful run at Varick Street, with more than 350 jobs created and portfolio companies that have raised more than $26 million in early stage capital, a legacy continues in DUMBO. As Pinsky commented later in the evening, “We would love to see NYU-Poly not only replicate its success at Varick Street, but also exceed it.”