Editor's Note: Entrepreneur Media is an investor and partner with Alley, a co-working space in New York City.
When we started Alley in 2012, we called it “the most badass co-working space on the planet."
As the years have gone by, the ecosystem has rapidly evolved. We now refer to Alley as an entrepreneurial community and a platform for growth, because the value proposition at Alley is not just a cool place to work. Rather, the value of our membership is to be part of a thriving and vibrant, diverse community of tastemakers, thinkers and doers. As we all know, you need to make the right connections with the right people at the right time to grow your business – and we want to be there to help.
Keeping our community thriving and relevant means we can never stop creating new channels of communication with different communities. This is why we’ve entered into a unique collaboration with New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
We believe our collaboration with NYU Steinhardt marks the first time a company like ours will have a presence inside the campus of a major university.
Earlier this week we began managing a space on NYU’s Washington Square campus dedicated to NYU Steinhardt’s initiatives to support education entrepreneurship and education technologies. The space was opened to NYU faculty and students, as well as nine companies selected for NYU Steinhardt’s Edtech Accelerator powered by StartEd.
Each of these nine companies will receive up to $170,000 in funding and participate in an intensive three-month mentor-led accelerator program dedicated to education entrepreneurship. The program culminates in a demo day when the companies present their business plans to a network of angel and venture capital investors in education.
We’re developing a series of programs and events for the startups, students, and faculty involved in the Edtech Incubator and Accelerator. We’ll also provide the nine startups with complimentary access to Alley’s technology dashboard that facilitates event management and booking space in the Incubator.
“We want to empower education entrepreneurs by bringing them together with our researchers, students, teachers, school administrators, policymakers, and leaders in finance to develop breakthrough ideas that measurably improve learning outcomes for all students,” Dominic Brewer, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of NYU Steinhardt told me. “In an effort to build this community, it was natural for us to want to work with Alley to bring our incubator space to life, given Alley's track record of creating similar communities of innovation -- spaces that are so much more than just work spaces.”
These startups will also have about three dozen of the edtech industry’s most respected leaders in the education and technology fields as mentors and advisors. I’m one of them. The others include CEOs and founders of successful edtech startups, active edtech venture capitalists and angel investors, leaders of the largest educational publishers, technology enablers and functional specialists from the largest technology firms and education researchers and policy experts.
And this doesn’t even count the broader Alley entrepreneurial community, starting with the hundreds of member companies using Alley space in Chelsea and Midtown Manhattan.
We’re excited about supporting this effort because it’s a continuation of Alley’s commitment to nurturing startups in the edtech space and of our expansion of the Alley community into schools of higher education, where many entrepreneurs are working on the next big thing.
At Alley, we’ve partnered with many leading accelerators from the start, such as Techstars, one of the most successful startup accelerators in the world, and Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) which takes place at one of Alley’s Midtown spaces.
We’ve also partnered with Columbia Business School to create programming that will engage the Columbia community and the community at Alley and just last month powered the New York demo day for MIT’s premier student accelerator.
New York is the home to the largest K-12 public school system in the country and the largest urban public university system. The Northeast is home to over 800 educational startups. This makes New York City “the natural epicenter for education,” as Dean Brewer puts it.
But, again, the number-one reason I’m pumped about working with NYU is because it’s a huge opportunity to expand the Alley community.
To remain relevant and vibrant, we need to expand our entrepreneurial community both to forward-thinking schools like NYU, where the next generation is creating the next big thing and to seasoned entrepreneurs and large companies keen to tap into the ethos of startup culture to spur their own innovations.
This is why our collaboration with NYU Steinhardt is one of our most powerful to date.