Millenial Makers

App Ideas from High-Schoolers: a Pitch Presentation with NYC Generation Tech

Adam Israfil, 14, presents an app to help readers find books suited to their taste.

“It’s pretty safe to say we’re all geeks here,” said Xavier Suarez, a particularly self-aware 16-year-old from Brooklyn, gesturing to a classroom full of fresh-faced fellow high school students. Betabeat had trekked down to Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus for the first pitch presentation of NYC Generation Tech—a new initiative by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to provide mentorship for disadvantaged high school students interested in technology.

The program, which is still in pilot phase, consists of a two-week summer bootcamp followed by a series of weeknight meetings in the fall, hosted at the local offices of top tech companies like Facebook, NASDAQ and Warby Parker. The 30 accepted students work in teams to develop a mobile app prototype using MIT App Inventor, targeted at other New York City students. Read More

Silicon Alley U

Mayor Bloomberg Announces a Second Tech Campus: NYU’s Applied Sciences Center in Downtown Brooklyn

NYU's initial proposal for a tech campus at 370 Jay St.

UPDATE: Read our liveblog of the Mayor’s press conference about the NYU’s new Brooklyn campus here.

Well that was well-timed! Hours after The New Yorker posted a profile of Stanford that tore at old wounds about the innovation engine’s decision to drop out of building an engineering campus in NYC–blame sour grapes or Seth Pinsky, depending on who you ask–the city is finally ready to make an announcement about a secondary initiative.

According to Mayor Bloomberg’s schedule, it looks like the second-place winner is a bid from NYU and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). In its initial proposal, NYU wanted to transform the derelict former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street into a Center for Urban Science and Progress. At 1pm this afternoon, the Mayor will be joining NYU President John Sexton to announce a partnership to create a new “applied sciences center in Downtown Brooklyn.”  Read More

Silicon Alley U

New Yorker Reveals More Details About NYC’s Botched Tech Campus Deal With Stanford

Stanford's proposal for Roosevelt Island

In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, the illustrious Ken Auletta, who recently profiled Sheryl Sandberg’s attempts to “upend Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture,” looks at the Bay Area from a different perspective. This time, he analyzes how Stanford became “the farm system for Silicon Valley,” and whether the “gold-rush mentality” among both Stanford’s students and faculty is good for the university.

Tucked inside the story are also a number of details about why Stanford, which was widely considered a frontrunner to open a its first-ever second campus on Roosevelt Island, abruptly dropped its bid at the last minute. Read More

Tech Talent Crunch

Study Urges NYC to Train Local Design Schools in New Technologies for the Next Wave of Innovators

Make it work!

Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corporation may at the top of the list for tech-happiest city governments, but a new study out by the Center for an Urban Future wonders if there’s one sector they’ve been missing: the city’s wealth of design and architecture schools like Parsons The New School for Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts .

The 38-page report, called “Designing New York’s Future,” points out that the number of degrees in design and architecture has grown 40 percent in New York City from 2005 to 2010 and the sector already attracts foreign students (*cough* Technion *cough*). Despite all that, however, design schools have been overlooked as part of the city’s innovation agenda, argues the report: Read More

Metro Tech

Meet Your 2012 NYC Venture Fellows: The Founders of Warby Parker, MakerBot, Yipit, and More

Screen shot 2012-02-17 at 6.11.29 PM

On its Tumblr, the New York City Economic Development Corporation posted an announcement this afternoon about the 28 individuals named to the city’s NYC Venture Fellows Program. The press release was actually issued last Tuesday, the NYCEDC confirmed by phone, but was only just added to Tumblr. C’mon, guys, until they plant that RSS chip in our brains, you gotta get with El Bloombito’s new social media agenda: everything updated all a’ the time.

This is the second year of the Venture Fellows program, developed with the agency along with Fordham University. “NYC Venture Fellows promotes emerging business leaders and encourages international entrepreneurs to start or expand their operations in New York City. The program connects fellows with mentors who are investors, serial entrepreneurs, CEOS, and operational managers from New York City and abroad.”

Combine that description with the word “fellows” and you might picture some accelerator-stage startups in real need of mentorship and connections, not far off the the lean Ramen life. Not so with the 28 rising stars on this year’s list, which includes BillGuard founder and CEO Yaron Samid, MakerBot cofounder and CEO Bre Pettis, Warby Parker cofounder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa, and charity: water founder and CEO Scott Harrison. Read More

Patently Absurd

After Six Years and Three Rejections,’s Steve Rosenbaum Gets a Patent for Video Discovery

Steve Rosenbaum Magnify patent

Looks like much-maligned U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is getting into the holiday spirit and trying to make entrepreneurs swoon. After six years, the agency has suddenly decided to give Steve Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of, the gift he’s been waiting for—U.S. Patent No. 8,117,545, covering a hosted video discovery and publishing platform—complete with a Valentine’s issuance date.

It’s a “big thumpy one too :), ” Mr. Rosenbaum told Betabeat over Skype. Thumpy? “Makes noise when you put in on the desk… thump,” he explained.

Considering Mr. Rosenbaum, author of “Curation Nation,” had to suffer through three rejections and two years of straight silence along the way, we say it should’ve come a bag of Sweethearts®, at least.

While consumers may not be familiar with Magnify, its video platform powers sites like New York magazine, TEDxTALKS, and Mediaite. It allows publishers to populate their sites with video from around the web and create their own video channels.

We talked to Mr. Rosenbaum, who was recently named entrepreneur-in-residence by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and also built the 9/11 Memorial iPad app, about why Fred Wilson calls patents “the Anti-Christ” and the three ways a company can respond once its been granted a patent. Read More

Silicon Alley U

Cornell Gets a Jump Start on Recruiting Tech Talent to NYC


Cornell isn’t wasting any time laying the ground work for its new avuncular role in the New York tech ecosystem. Tomorrow afternoon, the university is hosting a startup career panel in Ithaca called the “NYC Tech Talent Draft,” featuring founders, CEOs, and CTOs from Made In NYC() startups like ZocDoc, TechStars’ ChatID, Yipit, Birchbox, Pivotal Labs, Squarespace, and more. Read More

Love in the Time of Algorithms

Forever Alone in New York City? The EDC Is Here to Help!


New York City’s Economic Development Corporation is a lot of things to a lot of people: investor, incubator, job creator,  developer, and now, apparently, a matchmaker of sorts. Either that or an over-encouraging mom who’s just sure you’re gonna meet the right one, sweetie!

Today on the NYC EDC’s Tumblr, a blog typically devoted to Hizzoner’s policy musings, updates on the tech campus competition, or showing off the Mayor’s new Instagram account, went in a different direction with a post called “Ratio of Single Men to Single Women in NYC,” which, conventional wisdom holds, does not fall in a hetero lady’s favor.  Read More

Silicon Alley High

How the City Plans to Finance Its New Software Engineering High School

Inspirational viewing!

On stage announcing the creation of a Software Engineering Academy this afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg revealed that the high school had the support of Fred Wilson and the city’s tech community. Betabeat has learned a little bit more about how that will work.

According to Department of Education spokesman Frank Thomas, Mr. Wilson has committed to financially supporting the school and to raise money for the school from the tech community at large. We have heard from other sources that Mr. Wilson’s financial commitment will be philanthropic and that the goal is to raise around $1.25 million, although that number has not been confirmed. Read More

Silicon Alley U

NYU’s Brooklyn Tech Campus Is a Top Contender, But MTA’s Jay St. Asking Price Has Grown [UPDATED]

NYU's proposed campus at 370 Jay St.

For months, Mayor Bloomberg has dangled the possibility of picking two winners for the city’s tech campus competition. He even left the possibility open while announcing that the New York City Economic Development Corporation would give the full $100 million grant to Cornell-Technion to build an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island. Now Crain’s is reporting that between the remaining contestants, NYU’s Downtown Brooklyn proposal may have “taken center stage” over Carnegie Mellon’s Navy Yard campus and Columbia’s Manhattanville proposal.

Hey, if the Fulton St. Mall can have its own Shake Shack, why shouldn’t the M.T.A’s derelict former headquarters on nearby 370 Jay St. be transformed into a Center for Urban Science and Progress?

Although Crain’s says NYU, the M.T.A., and E.D.C. all want to make a deal to help revitalize Downtown Brooklyn, “but money is the sticking point.” Read More