TL;DR: Grand Central Tech is no longer just an accelerator but a highly selective tech campus consisting of four different programs servicing ~100 companies and operating across 100,000 sq ft of space. Just the same, we’d like your help getting the word out about our Accelerator program’s application which is now open and closes May 12th. Those interested can attend an Open House on April 12th from 6-8pm (RSVP here). Last, if you’re willing, please click here to Tweet and get the word out about our application!
Dear Friends of GCT,
It has been some time since Grand Central Tech has sent out any communications to our broader network. We’ve been heads-down undergoing a rebranding because, in the four years now since we were founded, we’ve grown… A LOT. Grand Central Tech now consists of four interwoven programs that, collectively, comprise New York’s largest and most selective tech focused ecosystem – approximately 100 of New York’s top technology companies call GCT’s 100,000 square feet of space home. The GCT platform provides companies within its ecosystem access to all of the key resources they need to succeed and grow — including curriculum, space, mentorship and unparalleled access to investors, customers and talent — all at the best terms possible. GCT’s four programs work as follows:
- The GCT Accelerator is New York’s flagship technology accelerator. Located in Facebook’s former NY headquarters, the GCT accelerator is a yearlong program that attracts over 1,000 applicants a year for approximately 20 spots. Accepted companies receive a full year in our space, access to interns; mentors; free legal, tax, accounting and PR services; in house recruiters; GCT’s corporate partners; and our global network of investors. In exchange, GCT charges no rent and no equity, unlike any other program of its kind. By eliminating equity as a requirement, GCT is able to attract a broader range of companies including later stage companies with investment already in hand. Likewise, GCT is sector and stage agnostic, which allows us to attract and select truly best-in-class applicants from across the NYC tech landscape.
- Build is a 40,000 sq. foot co-working space that nearly all GCT companies “graduate” into after the accelerator program. This materially enhances the strength of the community and provides a way for GCT to continue engaging with its companies. Although GCT graduates are not obligated to remain here, nearly all of them do, highlighting the value of a vertically integrated community of best-in-class companies all invested in the other’s success.
- The Urban Tech Hub @ GCT is a 51,000 square foot space focused specifically on attracting and serving growth stage companies working on urban tech challenges (e.g. transportation/mobility, infrastructure, power generation and consumption, IoT, etc.). Built in partnership with City Hall (as a result of a $2.5 MM grant awarded to GCT by NYCEDC), the Hub opened in September 2016 and will host approximately 30 companies at any given time. Admitted companies will have access to programming specific to urban tech challenges as well as a range of corporate partners and government officials who have committed to leveraging their scale and infrastructure on behalf of Hub companies. We think “the city” is the next great platform for innovation in much the same way social/mobile has been for the last 10 years; we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of reimagining urban living.
- New York Venture Fellows. In December, 2016 GCT took over as operator of the vaunted New York Venture Fellows Program. If you’re unfamiliar, the program was started by Mayor Bloomberg in 2010 to serve as the preeminent accolade for New York area entrepreneurs. Prior participants have included: Dennis Crowley (Foursquare), Rob Kalin (Etsy), Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa (Warby Parker), Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman (Rent the Runway); Scott Harrison (Charity:Water); Alexa Hirschfeld (Paperless Post); Shauna Mei (AHAlife); Bre Pettis (MakerBot); Vinicius Vacanti (Yipit); Alexa von Tobel (LearnVest); Adam Braun (Pencils of Promise); Carter Cleveland (Art.sy); Jason Freedman (42Floors); Riggs Kubiak (Honest Buildings); Zach Sims (codecademy); Adam Sager (Canary); Andy Katz-Mayfield (Harry’s); Adam Enbar (The Flatiron School); Kathryn Minshew (The Muse); Shan-Lyn Ma (Zola); Matt Lieber (Gimlet Media); Marcela Sapone (Hello Alfred); Jennifer Rubio (Away); Alan Tisch (Spring); Andras Forgacs (Modern Meadow); Dan Teran (Managed by Q), and many more. It’s an impressive list to say the least.
So, like I said, we’ve been hard at work… You might be asking yourself, “so what’s the ultimate vision for GCT then?”. Our mission is to build a vertically-integrated community of the absolute best early-stage technologists and entrepreneurs in the city that are focused on tackling large problems and scaling best-in-class businesses.
But we’re also not building Grand Central Tech in a vacuum. The word “best”, as we use it, has many elements. As an organization, we appreciate the socioeconomic opportunity inherent in the economic shift towards technology we’re undergoing and we intend do our part to ensure that the broadest possible range of beneficiaries stand to benefit from the energy and resources being poured into the tech sector. We select for companies that reflect and support this ambition. And we do so without sacrificing in the least on quality. Furthermore, we challenge our community to engage in good corporate citizenship via our code of conduct and a number of outreach efforts – most notably our signature internship program that draws in young people from across the socioeconomic spectrum and provides them internships with our member companies. Last, in all cases, we would prefer to be working with and on technologies that are advancing the human condition; that are aiming for big, important goals… but which also have a credible path towards achieving them.
In our view this is how the “best” of NYC tech is defined.
I know this is a long note, but I wanted to take the time to make sure I conveyed holistically what we are and what our vision is. Thanks for your support!