I am sitting in a smoothly moving Amtrak between NY and Boston and it is a great time to share what I saw during my visit in the Varick Street incubator, NY. Beside offering space for startups, they do very similar things as we do in eClub. What is the difference: they are much more experienced, they have accumulated lot of know-how, they have developed the startup ecosystem with lawyers, mentors etc. Great place to learn how to proceed with eClub.
I have met with Steven who is
running the NYU-Poly Varick Street Incubator. The incubator shortens the time from innovation
to impact, and provides the guidance, expertise, and resources that start-ups
need to grow into scalable ventures that bring economic growth to the greater
New York area. Steven is running the incubator for eight years. They have two
locations and all together they provide space and services for about 30
companies. I have visited the Varick Street part. The space is large and cheap
and this is the main differentiators between the university and other pro profit
incubators. One workstation place costs $400 a months. They allocate astonishing 100 square
feet (10 square meters) per person. The incubator was launched by the NYU-Poly and the City of
New York. The initial grant was only $100K. The university does not take any
equity in the companies, but still financially supports the whole operation. I
have asked Steven why the university is not taking share. The situation is surprisingly
very similar to our university. It seems to be too complicated to deal with university,
we just operate as non-profit organization and it works well. Varick Street has many more
companies requesting to joint than they can accommodate and this
is their success metric. They also have to search for the industrial partners in the
future to secure the future funding ads Steven. Very similar to eClub, we are
also dependent on the industrial support.
As well as eClub they organize competitions.
One of the very interesting forms is a short competition lasting for one week
only. It is organized for students with one condition, there
have to be students with technical as well as with business background in each of the teams. They face the same problem as us. Technical students love the technology
but are weak in the business development. Business people are not that much
emotionally attached to technology but have strong business drive. We need to learn
how to combine these two worlds.
It is great to be located in NYC,
says Steven. Compared to Silicon Valley NYC offers massive market opportunities,
it is the main center of various businesses. What more once you get out of the
building you are only few minutes away from Soho one of the most lively parts
It was a great meeting, I have seen
the rooms filled with many geeks and I had a long talk with Steven. He had promised
to serve in our jury in the next run of eClub. We have also discussed a possibility
to Skype some of the presentations they give in NY to eClub in spring. We definitely
will connect and discuss further possibilities. This visit was very interesting and motivational. Let's stay in touch with one of
the busiest cities in the world.