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A signature program of NYCEDC’s Venture Access NYC initiative and born out of the success of a pilot program at Newlab, the Founder Fellowship is designed to improve access to capital and networks for underrepresented founders across all tech-enabled sectors. Working with five unique startup program operators, the Founder Fellowship will support up to 100 diverse-led startup teams in 2023.

The five Founder Fellowship cohorts are led by

  • Chloe Capital: a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in women-led innovation companies. Chloe Capital travels across the US as part of the #InvestInWomen Tour, moving capital to female founders in each city we visit. They spotlight innovation, connect founders and investors to resources, and build community.
  • Company Ventures: a NYC-based, seed-stage venture firm. We believe deeply in the power of being in good company while building the future. Alongside a network of investors, we are offering a zero equity, mentor-led pre-accelerator for underrepresented founders, designed to help them fundraise more successfully.
  • Newlab: a singular community of experts and innovators applying transformative technology to solve the world's biggest challenges. This is the second year Newlab has run the Founder Fellowship program, and selected Fellows will also have the chance to connect with companies and opportunities at Newlab's new location at Michigan Central, Detroit.
  • The Tech Incubator at Queens College: TIQC builds and nurtures a diverse and vibrant ecosystem where underserved and underrepresented entrepreneurs thrive by building trust, having easy access to affordable resources (physical, digital, talent, and financial), and turn their dreams into reality.
  • Visible Hands: the most trusted platform for early-stage, overlooked founders. VH is on a mission to holistically support underrepresented founders in building high-growth startups. Through their programs, networks, and fund, they aim to manufacture privilege and invest in the resources necessary for underrepresented founders to win.

Applications are now open through December 16, 2022. Learn more about each operator and their unique program offerings in the chart below to find the cohort that best suits your individual startup needs. Click on the links in the chart to apply directly with the individual operators. 

Each program operator will provide unique value and offerings to the startups participating in their respective cohorts. All Fellow teams will receive:

  • Individualized work plans to identify key needs and interests
  • Cohort convenings to discuss challenges and receive business administration support
  • Connections to capital providers and potential collaborators
  • Access to mentors and advisor network
Inaugural Founder Fellowship Cohort

Inaugural Founder Fellowship Cohort

Fellow teams will also have access to perks from NYCEDC’s startup ecosystem partners, including:

  • Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation will match qualified social entrepreneurs with skilled Lex Mundi attorneys for free or low-cost transactional legal support to help grow their organizations and ultimately scale impact.
  • WeWork, one of the leading global flexible space providers, will provide every Founder Fellowship alum one year of free WeWork All Access to support their continued innovation. WeWork All Access is a monthly membership that provides access to hundreds of WeWork locations across the globe that enables users to choose when and where to work.

Each Fellow team can consist of up to two founders of a tech or tech-enabled startup company. At least one founder per Fellow team is required to be a resident within the five boroughs of NYC, with preference for applicants where both founders live in NYC. Applicants may apply to more than one Fellowship cohort; however, you may only be selected to participate in up to one cohort. Fellowship applications for all cohorts close on December 16, 2022, and all cohorts will commence in the first quarter of 2023.

Learn more about the ways NYCEDC is addressing inequities within the startup ecosystem through Venture Access NYC.

Operator Partners

Benefit Partners