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Inventors to Founders: Growing NYC's Cyber Ecosystem

Mar 30 2020
A Shared Vision for Inclusive Cyber Economic Development in New York City

A Shared Vision for Inclusive Cyber Economic Development in New York City

Cybercrime touches every nook and cranny of the economy. From hacking into freelancers’ contact lists to lurking within real estate assets, digital criminals are working consistently to paralyze our economy. It is only natural, therefore, that we at New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) would be engaged in protecting the city from cybercrime. With a mission of building strong neighborhoods, and creating good jobs, we've turned our sights toward the cybersecurity industry’s challenges and opportunities.

In 2018, we announced Cyber NYC. Through this initiative and interconnected web of programming, the City is investing $30 million into the cybersecurity ecosystem to seed ideas, launch accelerators, attract companies, and train talent. This will be matched with up to $70 million from the private sector and will create at least 10,000 cyber jobs over the next decade.

Inventors to Founders (I2F)
Inventors to Founders (I2F) kick-off event

Bridging the Gap

One of the biggest challenges we identified was bridging the gap between academia and industryfinding commercial applications for the groundbreaking research and innovation taking place in NYC-based university labs. Blending the city's academic thought leadership in the cybersecurity space with its unrivaled resources for business development is critical to developing NYC's self-sustaining cyber ecosystem and creating a diverse and skilled cyber workforce.

To bridge this gap, we partnered with Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV) and its Lab-to-Market (L2M) Accelerator Network to launch Inventors to Founders (I2F).

I2F: Connecting Classrooms to C-Suites

I2F pairs the top cyber inventors across the NYC university systems with the entrepreneurs, business leaders, mentors, and operators who can help bring their ideas to market. 

A curated matching program connects academics with entrepreneurs, facilitating introductions between the worlds of academia and business.

I2F's startup accelerator, meanwhile, is open to pre-seed applicant teams that include students, alumni, and faculty of I2F's university partners, including CUNY, Columbia, Cornell Tech, and NYU. The accelerator is already making great strides in nurturing the growth of NYC's cyber startup ecosystem.

Brigit Goebelbacker (NYCEDC), Liat Krawczyk (NYCEDC) and Tiffany Ricks (HacWare) at I2F kick-off event
Brigit Goebelbacker (NYCEDC), Liat Krawczyk (NYCEDC) and Tiffany Ricks (HacWare) at I2F kick-off event.

I2F is just one piece of the Cyber NYC puzzle—and we're just getting started.

Brigit Goebelbecker is the Project Lead for Cyber NYC at NYCEDC. Working to make social services more accessible, equitable, and joyful through technology. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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