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A signature program of NYCEDC’s Venture Access NYC initiative, the Founder Fellowship is designed to improve access to capital and networks for underrepresented founders across all tech-enabled sectors.

Each year, the Founder Fellowship supports a diverse community of New York City tech startup founder teams with much-needed access to resources and networks to help them grow their companies. Selected teams are placed in Founder Fellow cohorts led by NYCEDC’s program operators. All Fellow teams receive unique value and offerings including:

  • 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

This program goes beyond the ordinary, offering a transformative tech immersion into the world of business creation in the greatest city in the world.

Sebastián Hernández
Chief Relationships Officer, SaveFruit
Founder Fellowship 2024 Group Photo

2024 Founder Fellowship Cohort

The 2024 Founder Fellows include 60 diverse-led tech startups selected to participate across four unique cohorts led by:

  • Chloe Capital: A venture capital firm investing with a gender and diversity lens in climate, education, and health innovations.
  • Company Ventures (Boost): A seed-stage venture capital firm that offers a zero-equity pre-accelerator designed to help underrepresented founders fundraise more successfully.
  • Newlab: A singular community of experts and innovators applying transformative technology to solve the world's biggest challenges, offering selected teams full membership access to its co-working, prototyping space, mentorship and curated programming.
  • Visible Hands: A venture capital firm that holistically supports early-stage, underrepresented founders in building high-growth startups.

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

  • Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, which matches select qualified social impact entrepreneurs with skilled Lex Mundi attorneys for free or low-cost transactional legal support to help grow their organizations and ultimately scale impact.
People discussing a tech project

Founder Fellowship Request for Proposals

Seeking program operators to run future cohorts. Submissions due April 26, 2024.

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The Fellowship offered Conan MedTech great networking opportunities and introductions to some investors through the Chloe network.

Bayan Alturkestani
Founder & CEO, Conan MedTech Corp.

Over 160 startups have participated in the Founder Fellowship since the program launched in 2022. To date, more than two thirds of Fellow teams have included at least one female founder and nearly 80 percent have been led by Black, Latinx, and/or Asian founders. The 2023 cohort collectively raised over $12 million and created at least 79 new full-time jobs during the program.

Each Fellow team can consist of up to two founders of a tech or tech-enabled startup company, with at least one founder residing within the five boroughs of New York City. Companies can participate in up to one Fellowship cohort at a time, and may not participate in another accelerator during the duration of the Founder Fellowship program.

NYCEDC’s objective in creating the Venture Access Founder Fellowship is to eliminate barriers to entry into the venture-backed community and to build a more inclusive tech ecosystem in NYC. To this end, NYCEDC strongly encourages Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and women founders to apply to the program.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Venture Access NYC, email [email protected].

Operator Partners

Benefit Partners

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Learn more about future opportunities to apply

Learn more about the 2024 Founder Fellows

Learn more about previous Founder Fellows