New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYU-Poly and Trinity Real Estate Celebrate One Year Anniversary of Varick Street Business Incubator

Tenant Companies Create 110 Jobs and Raise More than $15 million in Venture Funding

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), and Trinity Real Estate today are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the 160 Varick Street business incubator in Lower Manhattan. Since opening in July 2009, the 35 tenant companies — representing a cross-section of promising startups, including a green retrofitting company, a global fund management firm for feature film production and distribution, a digital forensics and data recovery product developer, and an electronic fixed-income brokerage — created 110 jobs, hired approximately 250 freelancers and student interns, and raised more than $15 million in venture capital and angel funding. 160 Varick, a collaboration between NYCEDC, NYU-Poly, and Trinity Real Estate, was the first City-sponsored incubator launched as part of the City’s efforts to promote business innovation through entrepreneurial activity. NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky, NYU-Poly President Jerry Hultin, and Trinity Real Estate President Carl Weisbrod will be joined at the event, held at The Greene Space at 160 Varick Street by Council Member Gail A. Brewer, incubator tenants, New York City-based startup and early-stage companies, and venture capital and angel investors.

“For the past year, the startup companies at 160 Varick have exemplified the dedication and innovation for which New York City’s entrepreneurs are known,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “The incubator is a vital part of our efforts to strengthen and grow the startup sector and cement New York City’s place as a leader in the new innovation economy. It has surpassed our high expectations, and its success should be encouraging to entrepreneurs across the City.”

“When the technical and scientific expertise and resources of a university join with government and the financial and market resources of business, a powerful new paradigm for innovation and entrepreneurship emerges,” said NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin. “By breaking the silos between academia and the business world, we create a stream of jobs for the city and offer students real-life action learning opportunities. We also build channels to bring university-developed technologies to market, a cornerstone of our core philosophy that we call i2e: invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”

"The Varick Street Incubator is a prime example of Trinity Real Estate's fundamental operating principle: 'Do well by doing good,'” said Carl Weisbrod, President of Trinity Real Estate. “We gave this space rent free because we wanted to contribute to the city's creative economic development strategies in response to the global economic crisis. We are so delighted now to see the first businesses successfully graduating from the incubator and taking permanent space in the Hudson Square area." 

“By creating an environment for start-ups to succeed, we are laying the foundation for New York to succeed in the innovation economy,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the Committee on Technology. “An incubator like 160 Varick can create not just jobs, but entire industries to sustain our economic growth.”

"I was delighted to tour 160 Varick Street and see firsthand how technology and green companies can interact to make the City greener and economically viable with the expertise of 160 Varick,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Congratulations to NYU-Poly, Trinity Real Estate, and the Economic Development Corporation."

160 Varick is currently fully leased with 35 tenant companies employing more than 200 full- and part-time staff. Tenant companies expect to hire 95 additional employees by July 2011. In addition, five companies are preparing to “graduate” from the incubator. Companies graduate when they have closed a Series A or Angel round of financing, when they have 15 employees total, or when their business case has progressed to a level where incubator services are no longer as critical. These companies include: Ecological, LLC, a sustainability performance management company; CB Insights, a technology and information services company focused on high-growth private companies; Pixable, a company that allows users to turn Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa photos into home-delivered printed memorabilia; iTB Holdings, an electric fixed-income brokerage platform; and The Hotlist, a web application that allows college students to coordinate their social schedules.

Among the innovations currently being developed and scaled-up on-site are New York’s first urban-scale wind turbines; next-generation bio-pesticides and bio-plastics; a revolutionary method of generating hydroelectric power; and a web property that aims to become a leading online selling platform. Startup businesses and entrepreneurs interested in applying for space can download an application online

NYCEDC provided a $100,000 capital grant to establish the incubator and helped to negotiate a three-year lease between the landlord, Trinity Real Estate, and the facility operator, NYU-Poly. The 16,000-square foot space offers high-quality, ready-to-use office space that comes with basic business services and administrative support. NYU-Poly provides mentoring services, business seminars and networking opportunities for tenants, who can sublease space starting at $250 per person per month for six months with an option to renew. To date, more than 300 companies have applied for space.

160 Varick is also home to NYU-Poly’s New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), which helps clean technology and renewable energy companies grow in New York City, advancing the City as a role model for environmental sustainability and smart growth. NYC ACRE is seeded by a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to NYU-Poly. Nine 160 Varick tenants companies are part of NYC ACRE.

"This initiative represents an early but growing example of the power that evolves from the collaboration of entrepreneurial energy, academic knowledge and governmental access,” said Bruce Niswander, Director of NYU-Poly’s Office of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship. “Each individually is a factor in the entrepreneurial world; collectively, we become a force that has the ability to change the world, one small business at a time. NYU-Poly is proud to have met the financial and operational challenges to make this venture successful."

View a full list of tenant companies housed at 160 Varick.


David Lombino/Libby Langsdorf (NYCEDC): 212-312-3523
Kathleen Hamilton (NYU-Poly): 646.997.3792
Lloyd Kaplan (Trinity): 212-575-4545


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find NYCEDE on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is one of New York City’s most comprehensive schools of engineering, applied sciences, technology, and research, and is rooted in a 156-year tradition of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is one of the nation’s oldest private engineering schools. In addition to its main campus at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. NYU-Poly has centers in Long Island, Manhattan and Westchester County; globally, it has programs in Israel, China and will be an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi opening in autumn 2010.

About Trinity Wall Street and Hudson Square

Trinity Wall Street, one of New York City’s largest and oldest commercial property owners, maintains a portfolio of more than six million square feet.  Situated in Lower Manhattan between the Hudson River on the west, Avenue of the Americas on the east, Houston Street on the north and Canal Street on the south, Hudson Square is one of the City’s most dynamic and creative business districts.  Formerly an industrial warehouse and loft district, Hudson Square is now home to a diverse roster of high-profile companies that includes advertising agencies, designers, architects, software companies, publishers and other major corporations.