In May of 2017, the StackPath Ecosystems team attended TechCrunch Disrupt in New York city (NYC), and one important outcome of that trip for our Propel program was our meetings with the City of New York’s CTO office. Since those initial conversations, the city’s CTO office has engaged our team on several of their upcoming initiatives that have given us a real opportunity to live out our values. I remember one of our first StackPath Town Hall meetings when our CEO Lance Crosby put his cell phone number up on a slide. Lance told the entire company, “I’m accessible. Call or text me any time.” It made an incredible impression on me, not because of the gesture, but because of its message of inclusion. One of our core values at StackPath is inclusion, and it is being demonstrated through our partnership with the New York City’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer.
We started with a strategic kick-off planning session with the CTO’s office to begin developing an accelerator initiative that will focus on empowering women and minority led tech startups to access the resources they need for success. The entire Propel team will act as mentors, and I will be a board member on the initiative with several tech startup leaders in the Diversity & Inclusion space. At the table with me are other great organizations such as R/GA Ventures, Grand Central Tech, Forbes, The Startup Institute, Harlem Capital, DE Capital, Young & Rubicam, Humble Ventures, and many more. StackPath was the only private organization participating that is not based in NYC.
The NYCx accelerator will focus on incubating 10 startups in the fall of 2018, with plans to expand it to as many as 40-50 startups in 2019. Experts from around the world will help each founder with growing their startup, similar to the way Y-Combinator creates an ecosystem to support its founders. The program will be officially announced on June 7th at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn. The CTO’s office will be hosting the Inclusive Entrepreneurship Forum, where StackPath will be a featured partner and I will host office hours with as many of the 50 startup founders attending as my voice will allow. Fellow StackPath Propel partners like R/GA Ventures and Grand Central Tech will also be participating in the event and providing a board member for the CTO’s initiative.
Through the team’s work on the NYCx accelerator, StackPath has now also been invited to sit in on the city’s NYCEDC CyberNYC and NYC Cyber Command initiatives. The program provides a framework for deploying new or emerging technologies and solutions in real-world environments throughout NYC. The Program will collaborate with NYC agencies to identify broad priorities and mandates (e.g. climate action, affordable housing, Census participation) whose success hinges on leveraging ambitious technological solutions. Its open “Challenge” statements define the City’s key goals and enable technologists, startups, and tech industry leaders to design a creative solution to accomplish that goal. We are currently in talks on how best to get Lance’s vision for connected technology as part of their policy agenda.
I am eager to roll up my sleeves with the City of New York, and get to work.
Stay tuned for more news on all the great things coming from NYC and Propel!