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Mayor Bloomberg Welcomes First 27 Start-up Companies To City-sponsored Business Incubator And Announces Plans For Expansion

August 31, 2009

City Will Create Up to Four Additional Business Incubators

Promoting Entrepreneurship and Expanding Opportunities for Start-Up Companies is Part of the Bloomberg Administration's Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today welcomed the first 27 businesses to the City-sponsored 160 Varick Street Incubator, fulfilling a pledge he made in his 2009 State of the City speech. The businesses represent a cross-section of promising start-ups, including a green retrofitting company, a global fund management firm for feature film production and distribution, a digital forensics and data recovery product developer, an electronic fixed-income brokerage, and an online company that willhelp patients make informed healthcare decisions. More than 300 start-up companies have applied to lease space at the incubator, which is now fully subscribed and will be expanded this fall to offer space to another 15 start-up companies. Mayor Bloomberg also announced plans to create up to four additional incubators, which could house as many as 150 additional start-ups. The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Polytechnic Institute of New York University President Jerry MacArthur Hultin, Trinity Real Estate President Carl Weisbrod and the founders of the start-up businesses occupying the incubator.

“As we work to make sure New York City remains competitive and a place where businesses start, stay and grow, we’re capitalizing on what has always been the City’s greatest strength – the talent, work ethic and innovation of New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The next generation of successful employers is being developed now, and no one can say for certain what they’ll be. But we want to make sure as many of them as possible start and grow in New York City. Our first business incubator on Varick Street is a great example of how the public and private sector can work together to promote entrepreneurship. Based on its success, we’re creating additional incubators around the City.”

Mayor Bloomberg first announced plans for the Varick Street incubator in February 2009 as part of the City’s 11-point plan to promote business innovation through entrepreneurial activity. The City provided capital funds and helped to negotiate a three-year lease between the landlord, Trinity Real Estate, and Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), which is operating the facility. The 16,000-square foot incubator now offers high-quality, ready-to-use office space that comes with basic business services and administrative support. NYU-Poly is providing mentoring services, business seminars and networking opportunities for tenants, who can sublease space starting at $200 per person per month for six months with an option to renew. In addition, up to 2,000 desks are available at discounted rates starting at $180 per desk through City partnerships with the Coalition of Office Space Providers and the Office Business Center Association of New York. Information on the incubator program and discounted desks can be found at:, or by calling 311.

Mayor Bloomberg also announced the City will expand the program and create up to four additional incubators. New York City Economic Development Corporation released a Request for Expressions of Interest to identify entities to provide discounted space for the additional incubators and a Request for Proposals for operators to manage them. Responses are due in mid-September. The City is also currently developing the “Hive@55,” a shared-work facility for media freelance professionals at 55 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan in partnership with the Downtown Alliance and Rudin Management.

“Capitalizing on New York City’s unparalleled entrepreneurial talent is one of the driving forces behind our efforts to build a local economy with less dependence on a single sector,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “The 160 Varick Street Incubator is the first in a growing network of City-sponsored facilities that will include up to 2,000 workstations where entrepreneurs and start-up companies can establish a presence in New York City and in building their businesses, create jobs and support economic growth.”

“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for recognizing how important it is to provide an environment in which people with ideas can succeed in establishing companies and generating jobs,” said NYU-Poly President Jerry MacArthur Hultin. “This incubator is living proof of how in the short space of six months – with the right leadership – an idea can go from concept to fruition. One of NYU-Poly’s main objectives as an institute of technology is to lead invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship – something we call i2e. We are delighted that this partnership with the Mayor’s Office has given us a unique opportunity to strengthen the economy of New York City. The Varick Street incubator is breaking new ground in the level of entrepreneurial experience we offer to students. At NYU-Poly, we are committed to leading New York’s economy into the 21st century.”

“Trinity Real Estate is pleased to donate this rent-free space for three years to NYU-Poly so that it can implement Mayor Bloomberg’s innovative incubator program,” said President of Trinity Real Estate Carl Weisbrod. “We look forward to many of these new businesses outgrowing the incubator and taking permanent, rent-paying space, joining hundreds of our other tenants in this exciting Hudson Square neighborhood, now a magnet for world-class creative companies."

“The Bloomberg Administration and its partners are helping to insure that New York City remains at the forefront of the rapidly evolving financial services industry, incubating the companies that will create the next generation of products required by a new regulatory and risk management environment,” said Partnership for New York City President & CEO Kathryn Wylde.

The City is also convening a Venture Capital Advisory Group chaired by DFJGotham Co-founder and Managing Director Danny Schultz, which will meet on a regular basis to provide advice and gather feedback and comments from companies locating at the City incubators. Members of the Venture Capital Advisory Group include:  FirstMark Capital Founder, CEO and Managing Director Lawrence D. Lenihan, Jr.; Union Square Ventures Partner Albert Wenger; Greenhill & Co. Managing Director Steve Brotman; Greycroft LLC Partner Andrew B. Lipsher; and RRE Ventures Co-Founder & Managing Partner Stuart Ellman.

“We applaud the city for establishing accessible venues for young, start-up companies to find affordable office space, collaborate with other like-minded entrepreneurs and access potential sources of venture capital from members of the advisory group,” said FirstMark Capital Founder, CEO and Managing Director Lawrence D. Lenihan, Jr. “This initiative will continue to build on the momentum in New York City's vibrant and rapidly-growing entrepreneurial community.”

Steelcase, a national office-furniture manufacturer with a subsidiary situated nearby at 200 Varick St. donated furniture for the incubator at 160 Varick.

“Steelcase is proud to collaborate with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and NYU-Poly to support the new programs outlined for the city of New York to foster business innovation and entrepreneurial activity,” said John Gols, Vice President of the New York Region of Steelcase. “Innovation is the lifeblood of Steelcase's business, and we applaud the Mayor and his team for providing tangible steps to make the City of New York succeed despite the economic challenges.”

The tenants of 160 Varick Street Incubator include:

Advanced Valuation Analytics Corporation: A company that invented and markets a GPS-based housing price technology that is used to construct indices for any geographic region.

Base One International Corporation: A software developer that provides consulting services for building web-enabled database operations.

ChubbyBrain: An information services technology company that compiles data about start-up companies and the investors that back them.

Clifton Charles: An e-commerce company that seeks to use innovative technologies to provide mass online customization to the men’s apparel industry.

Digital Assembly: A start-up company developing innovative products for digital forensics and data recovery.

Ecological Development: An environmental land development, master planning, and green retrofitting company that strives to integrate sustainable development into the built environment.

EcoLogic Solutions, Inc.: A manufacturer and distributor of environmentally preferable cleaning and maintenance chemicals for the institutional marketplace.

Effective Coverage: An insurance solution provider that offers a resident risk-management program to multi-family property owners and managers.

FairChoice Systems: A company that provides colleges and universities with new web and mobile technologies. The services will integrate an institution’s existing data with new systems that connect students and staff to time-sensitive information such as heath and housing services.

Fig Food Company:  A manufacturer and purveyor of minimally-processed, plant-based organic meals.

Hot List Media Inc.: A company that runs, a web site aimed at college students that allow them to coordinate their social calendars by posting events and activities. The site is expected to launch in August 2009.

iConcept Media Group: A fashion-focused media and communications company with an editorial division that publishes iFashion Network, and a strategy division focused on brand marketing, public relations, and event planning and production.

iTB Exchange: An electronic fixed-income brokerage that leverages the internet to help consumers navigate global bond markets.

M.J. Beck Consulting: An energy consulting company that provides support services to companies and organizations engages in electric power production, delivery, and related activities.

Nolej Studios: A marketing and digital media company that focuses on brand development and positioning, web design, media production, graphic design, and visual and audio production.

NudeBar: A producer of specialty undergarments created for women of color. The products are offered in 15 colors to match all skin tones.

Opportunity Green Enterprises: A new venture from Opportunity Green dedicated to promoting green entrepreneurship through competitions, education, and training.

PatientPlus: An online resource thatprovides appointments, doctor reviews and social tools to help patients make informed healthcare decisions.

PayWithFriends, Inc.: An online financial services start-up company that provides comprehensive group payment solutions to consumers and businesses for purchases that range from gifts to living expenses.

People Data Solutions: A company that provides Fortune 500 employers with a Talent Portfolio Management System that acts as an exchange for people laid off from Wall Street. Companies can “sponsor” recently laid-off employees on the site and job-seekers can connect with hiring managers. 

Rentricity: A renewable energy company that uses unique energy configurations to transform untapped energy from man-made processes into electricity that can then be sold onto the electric grid.

Share the Access: A pre-launch digital business that will offer KEYWIFI, a service enabling access to the internet at lower cost and establishing revenue streams for clients & partners through a web-based platform.

SpacePoint: An on-demand real estate and facility-management solutions provider.

S. Crow: A revenue-collection company that provides services to public entities collecting ticket penalties and other fees.

Torch Films NYC: A global fund management firm for feature film, production, and distribution.

Ultra Light Startups: A group of technology entrepreneurs who collaborate online and in-person to help each other launch startups quicker and cheaper.

ZyQuan X: A provider of state-of-the-art quantitative platforms for the financial services sector currently focused on Risk Management, Structured Finance, and Derivatives.

The Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the plan, visit

Recent announcements to diversify the economy include:

  • A plan to create 11,000 permanent industrial jobs on Brooklyn’s working waterfront.
  • Eight initiatives to strengthen the media industry in New York City.
  • Resources for workforce training to New Yorkers for jobs in a green economy.
  • ImClone will locate its research headquarters at the City’s new bioscience complex.
  • New initiatives to help support Hispanic-owned small businesses.
  • The opening of China Construction Bank’s New York City office.
  • New international cruise activity, growing New York City’s 13,000-job cruise industry.
  • Steps to help New York City’s bioscience companies compete for Federal funding.
  • Legislation that will green buildings and create 19,000 construction jobs.
  • Green projects at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating more than 1,700 permanent jobs.
  • Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs.
  • New programs to provide training and resources for City’s future entrepreneurs.
  • 11 new initiatives to support the financial services sector and promote entrepreneurship.

Other Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan announcements include:

  • The City financed 12,500 low- and middle-income affordable housing units in the last year.
  • The start of construction of the $148 million East River Waterfront Esplanade.
  • The first housing projects to start using TCAP stimulus funds, creating 2,800 jobs.
  • The start of construction of an affordable housing complex in the South Bronx.
  • Steps to prevent a speculative purchase of Ocelot Capital Group sites in the South Bronx.
  • Plans for the first 120 units of the Seaview Senior housing project in Staten Island.
  • SecondMarket, Inc. will create 367 new jobs in Lower Manhattan through JCRP.
  • $1 million to create a shared commercial kitchen at La Marqueta in East Harlem.
  • The start of construction of a 600-unit mixed-income complex in the Bronx.
  • The start of construction of major improvements to Queens Plaza and Jackson Avenue.
  • $100 million for 14 infrastructure projects across Queens that will create 400 new jobs.
  • The adoption of the City’s plan for Coney Island that will create more than 30,000 jobs.
  • $350,000 in NYC Business Solutions Training Funds awarded to small businesses.
  • Enhancements to the City’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program.
  • The opening of a 125-unit mixed income housing development in the Central Harlem.
  • A record 10,500 job placements through the first half of 2009.
  • A plan to convert unoccupied apartments and stalled sites into affordable housing.
  • The purchase of the Hunter’s Point South site to create a new, affordable neighborhood.
  • A public campaign to help more New Yorkers get free foreclosure prevention services.
  • The start of services of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District.
  • A stimulus-funded bond program to spur commercial and industrial projects citywide.
  • The City will use nearly $32 million to train 10,000 New Yorkers for jobs.
  • New space for 20 small businesses in Bushwick, creating more than 80 industrial jobs.
  • The start to construction of the International Gem Tower, which will house 3,000 jobs.
  • City’s Workforce1 Centers in Harlem and Jamaica received awards for innovation.
  • Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program to encourage grocery stores.
  • City-supported loans unavailable from banks to help small businesses stay in operation.
  • Three new Financial Empowerment Centers offering free, one-on-one financial coaching.
  • Stimulus funding to help the City provide summer jobs for 51,000 young New Yorkers.
  • The opening of New Hope Walton Project, housing for low-income residents in Harlem
  • New affordable housing at Gateway Building, a long-vacant structure in the South Bronx.
  • The Harlem Business Assistance Fund to help businesses relocate to the 125th Street area.
  • The expansion of NYC Business Express to help businesses obtain permits and licenses.
  • The “Nine in ’09” campaign to promote economic activity in diverse neighborhoods.
  • A Center for Economic Opportunity program put 4,000 low-income New Yorkers in jobs.
  • Stimulus-funded community development projects that will strengthen neighborhoods.
  • Stimulus-funded Housing Authority projects that will create jobs for 3,255 New Yorkers.
  • The start of construction of 103 units of affordable housing in Brownsville.
  • The opening of Home Depot in the South Bronx creating 200 new permanent jobs.
  • The latest round of training funds to help small businesses train their employees.
  • The placement of 50 laid-off New Yorkers into positions at entrepreneurial companies.
  • New York City achieved a record 5,000 job placements through the first quarter of 2009.
  • Help for a beer distributor to create 55 permanent and 30 construction jobs in the Bronx.
  • Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs.
  • Federal stimulus transportation projects that will create or preserve 32,000 jobs.
  • Steps the City is taking to help small businesses adapt to conditions and avoid layoffs.
  • A plan to create and retain 400,000 jobs over the next six years.

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