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 is supporting 100 diverse-led startup teams in 2023 across five unique cohorts 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 they visit. They spotlight innovation, connect founders and investors to resources, and build community.
- Company Ventures: An NYC-based, seed-stage venture firm that believes deeply in the power of being in good company while building the future. Alongside a network of investors, Company Ventures offers 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. Newlab is dedicated to supporting underrepresented climate and urban tech founders in NYC through the Founder Fellowship. Selected Fellows will receive full membership access to Newlab's co-working and prototyping space, in addition to mentorship and curated programming.
- The Tech Incubator at Queens College (TIQC): 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.
Each program operator is providing unique value and offerings to the startups participating in their respective cohorts. All Fellow teams 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
Fellow teams also have access to perks from NYCEDC’s startup ecosystem partners, including:
- Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, which matches 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, which provides 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 consists of up to two founders of a tech or tech-enabled startup company, with at least one founder residing in New York City. Companies can participate in up to one Fellowship cohort at a time.
Learn more about the ways NYCEDC is addressing inequities within the startup ecosystem through Venture Access NYC.