NYCEDC launched Venture Access NYC as part of the City’s strategy to emerge from the pandemic stronger, fairer, and more resilient than before.
Designed to address inequities within the tech startup ecosystem, Venture Access NYC is a suite of programs to build a more inclusive and representative tech ecosystem for founders and funders in NYC.
Venture Access programs include:
- Founder Fellowship: for startup founders from underrepresented backgrounds
- Venture Access Alliance: for venture capitalists who share in the goal of building a more diverse and equitable tech ecosystem
- Venture Career Program: for diverse New Yorkers looking to break into the venture capital (VC) industry
A Growing Tech Powerhouse
By the Numbers
Venture capital invested in NYC-based startups in 2021, the highest figure on record
New York City is a force in the global tech startup scene and has emerged as the world’s second-largest tech ecosystem, with more than 25,000 tech-enabled startups and over 100 accelerators, incubators, bootcamps, and co-working spaces across the five boroughs.
And the investment community is taking notice—in 2020, the venture capital (VC) industry invested over $16 billion in NYC-based startups. That figure tripled to over $50 billion in 2021, and 2022 is likely to go down as the second-best year in the history of venture capital flows in NYC.
Barriers to Opportunity
By the Numbers
Venture capital going to Black and Latinx founders nationally
Despite these trends, however, startups founded by entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged groups face significant obstacles that threaten to leave them out of NYC’s growing startup economy.
Funding to underrepresented founders has increased in recent years, but still represents a fraction of the nearly $330 billion in funding raised by US startups in 2021. Nationally, startups led solely by women founders received about 2 percent of funding, and startups led by Black and Latinx founders generally receive about 3 percent of total venture capital raised (In the Greater New York area, Black and Latinx founders receive around 5 percent of total venture funding in the region.)
The Founder Fellowship supports a diverse community of founders building tech and tech-enabled businesses with access to networks, fundraising, mentorship, business development, and other opportunities necessary to build and grow in NYC.
The Founder Fellowship builds on the success of NYC Venture Fellows, an NYCEDC program that ran from 2010 to 2016 and helped high-potential entrepreneurs scale their ventures in NYC. Venture Fellows accelerated some of NYC’s most prominent startups of the past decade, including Warby Parker, Etsy, Foursquare, and Rent the Runway.
In February 2022, NYCEDC launched a pilot Founder Fellowship cohort in partnership with Newlab to support eight underrepresented founder teams working on innovative urban-tech solutions. Following the initial success of the pilot and with a $1.5 million investment from the City of New York, the Founder Fellowship is expanding in 2023 to serve 100 diverse startup teams across a range of tech-enabled sectors. NYCEDC is partnering with five unique startup programs to lead Fellowship cohorts, including Chloe Capital, Company Ventures, Newlab, the Tech Incubator at Queens College, and Visible Hands. Learn more about the 2023 Founder Fellowship here.
Our administration is committed to fostering a tech industry that is more inclusive and equitable than ever before, and one that looks like the diverse community it serves.
Venture Access Alliance
The Venture Access Alliance is a coalition of startup investors who believe NYC’s diversity is its greatest strength and opportunity for growth. Inspired by successful public-private initiatives like PledgeLA, an initiative launched by the Annenberg Foundation and the City of Los Angeles, the Alliance works together to achieve diversity throughout the startup value chain and build the most robust, inclusive, and innovative tech and venture ecosystem in the world. The Alliance is centered around:
- Tracking Diversity: The Alliance collects data on diversity in NYC’s venture industry and publishes a report with best practices and benchmarks for startup investors.
- Setting Targets: The Alliance sets ambitious yet feasible targets to improve diversity among NYC venture investments and decision-makers.
- Committing to Action: The Alliance commits investors to develop, fund, and implement actions and collaborative programs that work towards the diversity targets in NYC.
Venture Career Program
Venture Access NYC will look to introduce a Venture Career Program to build and expand the pipeline of diverse talent within VC firms—with strategic industry partnerships to support aspiring investors in NYC.
Contact Our Team
We are committed to working with our community to develop solutions that meet your needs. If you work in venture capital, the NYC startup ecosystem, or a mission-aligned organization—we want to hear from you. Please contact us today to ask any questions about this initiative; raise an idea; or set up an informal, introductory call.
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