NYU-Poly's Varick Street Incubator

NYU-Poly’s Varick Street Incubator

Public Works Partners has been honored to work with New York University for the past several years on economic development projects. In 2011, we helped NYU develop its winning proposal to create a new applied sciences campus: the new Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn is an entity focused on creating technological innovations that can improve city living and bringing them to the marketplace. In 2012, we helped NYU-Poly, the university’s engineering school, to craft proposals that won funding for two other entities focused on innovation: the New York City Media Lab and a NYS Energy Research Development Authority-funded proof-of-concept center. Both help students and faculty members engaged in cutting-edge research to bring their discoveries to the marketplace where they can be disseminated and further refined.

So we were excited to see that NYU-Poly released a study quantifying the impact of three business incubators that the school operates in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn’s the DUMBO neighborhood. These incubators serve as springboards to help launch firms leveraging technology in the city’s burgeoning cleantech and green construction sectors. Since the first incubator’s launch in 2009:

  • 102 companies have been created or passed through;
  • 35 companies have graduated to a larger space in NYC;
  • 5 companies have been acquired;
  • $60M has been raised by incubator companies; and
  • 900 total jobs were created.

NYU-Poly’s incubators are part of a larger ecosystem of startups that the Bloomberg Administration has helped nurture in NYC. To date, roughly a dozen incubators and shared workspaces citywide over the past several years have launched, mostly in the tech and creative sectors.

More recently, the city’s Economic Development Corporation has been expanding this approach through its LINK initiative to ensure the city’s more highly skilled startups are also places for lower income New Yorkers to find opportunities and get on the initial rungs of the sector’s career ladder. Despite being in the waning months of the administration, EDC continues to release RPFs for pilot programs in this regard, which is exciting. What remains to be seen is if the next mayor will find ways to move from pilots to scale to ensure all New Yorkers can benefit.