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Press Release

NYCEDC Announces Selection of 60 Diverse Startups to Participate in Third Cohort of the Founder Fellowship

Feb 22 2024
Three young business people working together on a laptop in their office late at night.

The Program is Designed to Improve Access to Capital and Networks for Underrepresented Founders Across All Tech-Enabled Sectors

Since Launching in 2022, the Program Has Served More Than 160 Founders Across 108 Startups Helping Them Raise Over $12 Million in Venture Capital and Grant Funding

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today unveiled the selection of 60 diverse tech founder teams from across New York City to participate in the third installation of NYCEDC’s signature Founder Fellowship program. The program is designed to address inequities in the tech ecosystem and empower New Yorkers to seize entrepreneurship opportunities in the industry. Of the 60 teams selected for the 2024 Fellowship cohort, approximately two-thirds have at least one female founder, 77 percent have a Black, Latinx, and/or Asian founder, and 15 percent have at least one LGBT+ founder.

The Fellowship continues after the successes of the pilot cohort with Newlab in 2022 and then significantly scaling to support more New York City based entrepreneurs in the second cohort that launched in February 2023. During the 2023 program, Founder Fellow companies hired nearly 80 new employees, and their combined valuation increased by at least $112 million. The program builds on Mayor Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,” which prioritizes helping diverse entrepreneurs gain greater access to capital.

“I am thrilled by the announcement of the third Founder Fellowship cohort because it further advances the Adams administration’s goal of creating an equitable and representative tech sector in New York City. Additionally, this initiative is an example of government at its best— de-risking and testing big ideas and then scaling them when they work, in partnership with the private sector and proven program operators,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer.

“NYCEDC is thrilled to build off the success of the previous Founder Fellowship cohorts and continue to provide diverse entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and capital needed to succeed and flourish throughout the five boroughs,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “The continuation of the Founder Fellowship, along with the recent launch of the Venture Access Alliance, a coalition of over 90 startup investors working to build a more diverse venture ecosystem, truly speaks to how NYCEDC is continuing to take meaningful action to diversify New York City’s tech entrepreneurship and workforce.”

“It is exciting to welcome the third cohort of the Founder Fellowship program at the NYCEDC. As the Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, I am glad to see another cohort as the work of this initiative continues to give community-centered and diverse entrepreneurs the resources they need. When looking to solve long-standing citywide issues, we have to look inward. That is what this fellowship is all about and I look forward to working alongside this new cohort of fellows to support their innovate solutions to New York City’s biggest challenges,” said Council Member Amanda Farías.

“The Founder Fellowship is just the type of program New York City needs to ensure its next generation of technology entrepreneurs represents the diversity of the city,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Executive Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Talent and Workforce Development.” In addition to providing financial resources to entrepreneurs in critical growth sectors like the green economy and health care, the Founder Fellowship also connects its cohorts with networking, mentoring and professional support. Embracing and amplifying NYC’s diversity is a smart move, and will make our economy more robust and inclusive while creating pathways to opportunity for New Yorkers.”

New York City is ranked as the number two global tech and venture capital ecosystem and is home to over 25,000 tech-enabled startups. The tech ecosystem employs more than 360,000 people, having grown by over 30 percent in the last decade. However, nationally, startups led solely by women founders received about two percent of venture funding in 2023, while startups led by Black and Latinx founders generally receive less than three percent of total funding raised. NYCEDC designed the Founder Fellowship to ensure entrepreneurs traditionally underrepresented among venture-backed startups can successfully build and grow their enterprises in NYC.

Each year, the Founder Fellowship supports a diverse community of tech startup founders with much-needed access to resources and networks to help them grow their companies in New York City. All fellow teams receive unique value and offerings including individualized work plans, cohort convenings and programming, business administration support, and access to networks of capital providers, industry mentors, and advisors.

To view the full list of the 2024 Founder Fellows, click here.

NYCEDC received more than 420 applications for the third installation of the Founder Fellowship. Among applicant companies, 28 percent are in the green economy sector, 28 percent are lifestyle and/or wellness companies, 22 percent are in the education and workforce development sectors, and 20 percent are in the healthcare field. The remaining applicants' range in sectors from biotechnology and life sciences to financial services, administration and corporate services, to creative and media, among other industries.

NYCEDC is continuing to partner with the following program operators to serve the 60 diverse tech founder teams in this year’s Fellowship. Each operator provides unique value and offerings to the founders participating in their respective cohort:

  • Chloe Capital, a venture capital firm investing with a gender and diversity lens in climate, education, and health innovations.
  • Company Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm that offers a zero-equity pre-accelerator for underrepresented founders.
  • Newlab, a community of experts and innovators applying transformative technology to solve the world's biggest challenges.
  • Visible Hands, a venture capital firm that holistically supports early-stage, underrepresented founders in building high-growth startups.

“The Chloe Capital team is looking forward to providing access to capital and resources for the underestimated, but outperforming New York City innovation leaders in our upcoming cohort of the Founder Fellowship. NYCEDC is catalyzing tremendous impact with this program and we're honored to partner with the other excellent operators” said Elisa Miller-Out, Managing Partner, Chloe Capital.

“We're thrilled to welcome the second cohort of the (Boost) Founder Fellowship. As a firm, Company Ventures is dedicated to identifying and supporting exceptional founder talent from any and all backgrounds. Our ongoing partnership with NYCEDC helps us do just that, and we look forward to seeing all founders in the program thrive and succeed,” said Matt Harrigan, CEO and Managing Partner, Company Ventures.

“Newlab looks forward to supporting another cohort of climate-focused entrepreneurs who are applying technology to help create a more resilient, sustainable and equitable future for New York City,” said Cam Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer at Newlab. “The entrepreneurs selected to participate in Founder Fellowship's third cohort are a group of incredibly talented, visionary innovators who are committed to tackling planetary challenges. Newlab is honored to be a partner in their journey.”

“Witnessing last year's Founder Fellowship's success ignited our excitement to partner with NYCEDC again. This program is a powerful example of how inclusion fuels innovation, empowering underrepresented entrepreneurs to build thriving businesses. New York City, a global hub for innovation and diverse populations, provides the perfect backdrop for this impactful initiative,” said Justin Kang, General Partner at Visible Hands.

“The Founder Fellowship was really valuable, as it gave us the opportunity to share and learn from amazing entrepreneurs and to have support from the Boost team and the NYCEDC. It offered us a great space to work, extra help with marketing, and PR, and an open network of mentors who helped us accelerate sales and product development,” said Dathic CEO Laura Rocha.

“The Fellowship helped us get visibility in the ecosystem and to connect with other founders, investors and business partners. It was a great experience,” said Catrinel and George Hagivreta, CEO and COO of Medijobs.

The Founder Fellowship is part of NYCEDC’s Venture Access NYC initiative to bring together investors, tech entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to build a more inclusive tech startup ecosystem in New York City. Last October, NYCEDC announced the launch of the Venture Access Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 New York City startup investors working together to increase diversity in the city’s tech and venture ecosystem.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city's future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.