Seven startups run by Columbia College young alumni — BoardRounds, Ply, Longneck & Thunderfoot, Rawr Denim [now known as Heddels], Shout, ModaBound and Bundle Organics — were chosen to take part in the new Columbia Startup Lab in SoHo. The lab will provide a dedicated Columbia-only shared workspace on the street level of the eight-floor Varick Street location of WeWork, a building that currently houses — and was the site of the founding of — Reddit. These startups are seven of a total of 31 teams of Columbia alumni from the College, Engineering, SIPA and the Business School that will be housed at the WeWork space beginning in June.
In addition to discounted office space—$150 a month per desk—and business infrastructure, these new companies will receive support from Columbia Entrepreneurship, Columbia College, Columbia Business School, Columbia Engineering and the School of International and Public Affairs. The Columbia Startup Lab will be fully integrated into the WeWork SoHo West community of 1,200 members and will facilitate networking through events, meet-ups and personal introductions. The selected teams will have access to training and information sessions provided by Columbia’s faculty and alumni network on topics ranging from legal concerns and design to strategic planning and managing technical projects. This partnership is the first of its kind, offering a new model for integrating the young talent of a major research university with New York’s on-the-ground entrepreneurial culture.
“As ‘Columbia University in the City of New York,’ we see the Columbia Startup Lab as an important and timely extension of our engagement with the economic, academic and social enterprise communities in our home town,” said Richard Witten, Special Advisor to Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. “For most of our 260 year history, the majority of our brilliant and incredibly talented graduates have stayed in this great city. The Startup Lab encourages that even further, by supporting recent graduates to start their ventures here.”
“Congratulations to the winners of the Columbia Startup Lab competition. These talented Columbia alumni will use the affordable co-working space subsidized by Columbia to transform their ideas into businesses across a variety of industries, which will ultimately help to create new companies, jobs, and economic growth right here in New York City,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball.
“New York City is entering a golden age of tech and innovation and we need to help nurture and support that growth,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Labs like these will go a long way towards ensuring New York continues to grow and diversify our economy while also giving young entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed.”
“This is an exciting project that will help ensure New York City remains a leader and a magnet for entrepreneurship and cutting edge businesses,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
“Launching a new business can be a daunting prospect, which is exactly why we’ve formed a community of inspiring businesses that calls WeWork ‘home,’” said Miguel McKelvey, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of WeWork. “Our beautifully designed workspaces are created to inspire collaboration among our members, and we are thrilled to welcome the winners of the Columbia Startup Lab competition into our WeWork community.”
The university-wide competition was open to alumni between one and five years removed from their graduation from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia Business School, and the School of International and Public Affairs with each of these four schools represented among the winners. The competition was structured to identify and support the best new ideas emerging across multiple schools and academic disciplines at the University. Click here for a list of the winners.
A version of this article originally appeared in Columbia News. This story was updated on July 12, 2016.
- In SoHo, Columbia Seeks to Jump-Start Entrpreneurs, The Wall Street Journal