New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), and Trinity Real Estate today announced that Pixable is the first company to graduate from the 160 Varick Street business incubator. Founded in 2008 by three graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Pixable relocated to New York City and moved into 160 Varick in November 2009. Since then, Pixable has expanded from four employees to 21, and secured over $3 million in venture funding. The company has signed a two-year lease for approximately 2,700 square feet of market-rate space on the 6th floor of 137 Varick Street, another Trinity Real Estate property in the Hudson Square neighborhood. 160 Varick, a collaboration between NYCEDC, NYU-Poly, and Trinity Real Estate, was the first City-sponsored incubator launched as part of the City’s efforts to promote business innovation through entrepreneurial activity.
“When we launched the 160 Varick Street incubator just over one year ago, our hope was that the innovative entrepreneurs locating there would utilize the low-cost workspaces and support services as a platform to grow their businesses in New York City,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “Pixable’s success is a testament to the talent and dedication of the small businesses driving the City’s economy today.”
“Pixable’s founders offer NYU-Poly students a shining example of the power of what we call i-squared-e: invention, innovation and entrepreneurship,” said NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin. “By realizing their dream of building a thriving company in New York City so quickly after graduation, they inspire our students to pursue knowledge and cultivate their inventiveness and entrepreneurial skills.”
“We anticipated that providing the rent-free incubator could attract the kinds of companies that would want to thrive and grow as part of the creative and dynamic Hudson Square community,” said Carl Weisbrod, President of Trinity Real Estate. “We salute the work of the incubator, and congratulate and welcome Pixable to our portfolio. We look forward to its continued success as a permanent fixture in the Hudson Square neighborhood.”
Pixable founders Inaki Berenguer, Andres Blank, and Alberto Sheinfeld met in 2008 after immigrating to the United States to attend MIT. They decided to start their own company after realizing a need for consumers to have the ability to easily print their online photos. The company now offers a low-cost, fast, and creative way to turn Facebook, Picasa or Flickr content into printed memorabilia such as photo books, calendars or posters, which are printed, packaged and delivered.
“I really can't repeat enough how fortunate it has been to be a tenant at the Varick Street Incubator,” said Pixable Co-founder Andres Blank. “From the affordable rent to the amazing facilities to the caliber of co-tenants, there are so many aspects of the incubator that helped foster the growth of Pixable. Prior to the incubator, we did not have the resources to hire new employees or to rent office space for them; once accepted at the incubator, the space impressed investors and potential partners. Of course, the most valuable aspect of the incubator was the people inside it. The highly competitive selection process made the collaboration, peer review and friendships there of the highest quality”.
The incubator at 160 Varick is currently fully leased with 35 tenant companies employing more than 200 full- and part-time staff. Tenant companies expect to hire 95 additional employees by July 2011. Several additional companies are also preparing to “graduate” from the incubator. Companies graduate when they have closed a Series A or Angel round of financing, when they have hired 15 employees, or when their business has progressed to a level where incubator services are no longer required.
“Pixable’s success illustrates that a great company, supported by great resources, propels technology rapidly to commercialization,” said Bruce Niswander, director of the incubator and NYU-Poly’s Office of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship. “We congratulate our first graduates and anticipate their knowledge and experience will benefit all Varick Street Incubator entrepreneurs as they continue to interact with our ‘alumni.’”
NYCEDC provided a $100,000 capital grant to establish the incubator and helped to negotiate a three-year lease between the landlord, Trinity Real Estate, which is contributing the space, and the facility operator, NYU-Poly. The 16,000-square foot space offers high-quality, ready-to-use office space that comes with basic business services and administrative support. NYU-Poly provides mentoring services, business seminars and networking opportunities for tenants, who can sublease space starting at $250 per chair per month for six months with an option to renew. To date, more than 300 companies have applied for space.
160 Varick is also home to NYU-Poly’s New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), which helps clean technology and renewable energy companies grow in New York City, advancing the City as a role model for environmental sustainability and smart growth. Nine tenant companies are part of NYC ACRE which is seeded by a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to NYU-Poly.
Among the innovations currently being developed and scaled-up on-site are New York’s first urban-scale wind turbines; next-generation bio-pesticides and bio-plastics; a revolutionary method of generating hydroelectric power; and a web property that aims to become a leading online selling platform. Startup businesses and entrepreneurs interested in applying for space can download an application at http://www.poly.edu/business/incubators/160-varick/apply. For a full list of tenant companies, visit www.poly.edu/business/incubators/160-varick.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.
About Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 156-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second-oldest private engineering school. In addition to its main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it also offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. Globally, NYU-Poly has programs in Israel, China and is an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi.
About Trinity Wall Street and Hudson Square
Trinity Wall Street, one of New York City’s largest and oldest commercial property owners, maintains a portfolio of more than six million square feet. Situated in Lower Manhattan between the Hudson River on the west, Avenue of the Americas on the east, Houston Street on the north and Canal Street on the south, Hudson Square is one of the City’s most dynamic and creative business districts. Formerly an industrial warehouse and loft district, Hudson Square is now home to a diverse roster of high-profile companies that includes new and traditional media, advertising agencies, designers, architects, film production and software companies and other major corporations.
Julie Wood/Libby Langsdorf (NYCEDC) 212 312-3523
Lloyd Kaplan/Shannon Lynch (Trinity) 212 575-4545