Sign of the Times

Incubator Program for Digital Media? The New York Times Is on It

There's always room for The Times, right?
(Wikipedia)

(Wikipedia)

New York City is pretty well saturated with incubators and accelerators and the like, such that when West coast stalwart 500 Startups decided to move into Silicon Alley, it opted to launch a coworking space, rather than further clutter an already crowded market.

Not that the plethora of local options is stopping everyone from piling into the accelerator game: According to a post on The New York Times website, the paper of record is launching a program called timeSpace:

a new initiative from The New York Times that brings entrepreneurs to our headquarters to refine and grow their businesses. Over four months, you and your team will work out of 620 8th Avenue, meet with relevant Times staff, demo your product and teach/learn alongside entrepreneurs and employees who make their livings in digital media, technology and journalism.

Well, why not? The existence of prior offerings from smaller, earlier competitors has rarely stopped The New York Times from piling into a story. What’s good for editorial strategy is good for the tech portfolio, no?

But slow down.

Just because the Times has invested in digital media startups such as WordPress, Betaworks and Federated Media, doesn’t mean it’s seeking equity in timeSpace companies—which, per the announcement, will likely be early stage startups with a product already launched: “If and when you raise an institutional round of financing, The New York Times Company will separately consider participating if invited.”

As for whether New York needs another accelerator, the Times appears to be hedging there as well.

“You may call it an accelerator or an incubator,” the Grey Lady said in its carefully-worded call for applications. “Right now we are calling it an experiment and looking forward to working alongside you.”

Follow Patrick Clark on Twitter or via RSS. pclark@observer.com

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