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Meet the NYC Innovation Collective

Incubators, accelerators, and other entities that support startups play a vital role in New York City’s ecosystem. The hope is that each of the companies in every program will grow to be successful, generate wealth, and provide jobs for New York City. The reality is more complex.

Many of these companies will fail and close after a few years. But that metric alone is an insufficient measure of success. A judgment of success based only on whether each company becomes the next [Insert ‘Unicorn’ name here] neglects to account for the increase in human capital. The graduates of these programs are creating value with their first, second, or third company as well as being amazing employees in companies founded by others. The ROI (Return On Investment) is, at the very least, in a more valuable labor pool.

That’s one reason so many people and companies take the risk of moving to New York City. And Digital.NYC is excited to be supporting the NYC Innovation Collective as they work to nurture the nurturers of companies and their founders. See their statement below.

NYC Innovation Collective logo

Who we are

A network 70+ accelerators, incubators, and innovation programs in NYC, representing more than 1500 startup teams, hundreds of expert mentors, and top-tier technology partners.

What we do… so far

The network provides a platform for these cutting-edge programs to exchange relationships, resources, and learnings to support each in their respective success.  As a community, we have connected network members with LP’s (investors that fund VC’s), prospective startup teams, accelerator staff members, corporate partners, curriculum designs, and mentors. We also compile Demo Day resources, best practices for program operation, and much more.

Three main vehicles allow this incredible level of activity and exchange between accelerators: events, a newsletter, and direct online communications.  

Events are what originally brought our network together at the end of 2015.  We continue to hold events on a bi-monthly basis (every 1 ½ - 2 months).  Each event brings together leaders inside the accelerator community to discuss topics that are largely unique to accelerators: curriculum design, demo days, mentor networks, deal structure, partnerships, etc.  

The second is a bi-weekly newsletter.  Every two weeks, we share a newsletter that compiles asks, offers, needs, and opportunities among accelerators in the NYC Innovation Collective network.  The newsletter allows network members to continue the culture of collaboration we build at events, as well as be introduced to new members, and to hear about new perks we provide access to.

The last method is a category of tools we offer for accelerators to communicate directly.  They include direct intros to other network members, access to our slack channel, and an email listserv.

What we will be doing

Ultimately, our work will seek to prepare the accelerator model for scale across communities in the United States.  By leveraging the systems and processes that create efficiency across accelerator programs, member organizations will be building a playbook and network of resources for anyone to use -- as well as clarify New York’s position as a mover and leader in the space.

Overall, accelerator programs have proven themselves as excellent hubs for innovation, as well as incredible entry points for new entrants into the tech world.  They also have high potential to serve as an economic fulcrum that can shift populations towards new skills and opportunities as the economy continues to change more rapidly and drastically.  We will be working to prepare accelerators to provide that entry and access at larger scales.  

How do we get there

(1) We will create industry-level resources that any accelerator program can use to ensure high function and outcomes.  

(2) A uniquely important part of our progress will be our initiative on diversity.  It is proven that diversity is a crucial part of value creation in a startup team, as well as a component of continued growth and success at higher levels of company size and funding.  More on that initiative will be shared in coming weeks.

(3) Working with institutional actors -- companies, governments, and universities -- to collaborate on ways to partner in the growth of the accelerator model!

How can you and your org help the Collective and thereby help yourself?

The new economy expects participants to accept a less continuous path forward in their careers and missions in life -- the tech community sets a vivid example as it frequently features stories where employee-manager roles inverse in just years.  As more companies are created, more companies fail, and more companies reach growth stages, we see former employees manage their former reports at previous companies, and vice-versa.  

It’s important to recognize: sometimes we’ll be leading initiatives and teams, and other times we’ll be executing and operating those directions.

This means the importance of connectivity amongst organizations in any industry ecosystem will skyrocket, and that vehicles that allow individuals to fluently transition between networks, skills, and opportunities will be crucial.

The sooner that more people get exposed to these new professional realities, the better -- so the best thing you can do as an individual is to get involved!  Accelerators do all sorts of things: they exist for founders, for investors, for employees, for politicians, you name it.  Find one that is the right entry point for you and jump in!

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