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Take the H.E.L.M. Winners


Congratulations to the winners of Take the H.E.L.M.: Hire + Expand in Lower Manhattana competition that encourages creative and innovative businesses to open a new office or expand an existing office in Lower Manhattan: Booker, STELLAService, Grapeshot, Paperless Post and The Flatiron School! Selected from a group of over 300 applicants, the five winners will each receive $250,000 to assist the businesses in moving to or expanding an existing location on or south of Chambers Street.  

An NYCEDC program administered by HR&A Advisors, Inc. and sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Take the H.E.L.M. is designed to encourage growth and diversification of Lower Manhattan's economy. The competition field was narrowed down to 19 finalists in February, each of whom received a $10,000 cash grant. Each finalist took part in two days of programming on Wednesday and Thursday, which included interviews with the competition selection committee, a breakfast with the Association for a Better New York and a tour of the WTC Site and Memorial. The 19 finalists were broken into five separate tracks: creative companies; technology companies; startups less than three years old; companies opening their first office in New York City; and companies currently in Lower Manhattan looking to expand in the area. The winners were announced at an award ceremony last evening at 7 World Trade Center.

“Take the H.E.L.M. builds upon the ongoing diversification of Lower Manhattan’s economy, linking creative and innovative businesses with the City’s already vibrant financial sector. The five initial winners of the competition will soon establish themselves or expand within this dynamic neighborhood, serving as important engines for economic growth. I would like to congratulate all of our finalists and the competition winners, and wish them continued success in all their future endeavors.”

 - NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky

Read more about the five winners: 

  • Expanding in Lower Manhattan: Booker
    Booker enables service businesses to streamline operations and maximize their revenues on a unified, cloud-based platform. 
  • Startups Track: STELLAService
    Moving to Lower Manhattan from the Flatiron District, STELLAService objectively measures and rates the service quality of thousands of online retailers, helping consumers make more informed buying decisions and helping businesses benchmark and improve the end-to-end customer experience. 
  • New to New York Track: Grapeshot
    Coming to New York from Cambridge, England, Grapeshot analyzes webpages to create keyword profiles based on probabilistic algorithms, for content recommendation and contextual advertising. 
  • Technology Track: Paperless Post  
    Leaving their current location on West 25th Street in Manhattan, Paperless Post will help users create custom online and paper stationery through elegant technologies and powerful design. Users pay Paperless Post directly for a product they love and trust for milestone events like weddings and holidays. 
  • Creative Track: The Flatiron School
    Moving from West 26th Street in Manhattan, The Flatiron School gives passionate people the skills they need to become software developers, and helps them get jobs at fast growing technology companies in New York City.

The Selection Committee was chaired by Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The full committee consisted of Levitt; Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance; Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company; Richard Florida, Professor, University of Toronto and NYU and Senior Editor, The Atlantic; Alicia Glen, Head of the Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs Bank USA; Lawrence D. Lenihan Jr., Founder and Managing Director, Firstmark Capital; Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Reddit, Breadpig and Hipmunk; Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners, LLC, Former Chairman, Citigroup, Inc. and Former Chairman and CEO, Time Warner, Inc.; Seth W. Pinsky, President, NYC Economic Development Corporation; Carley Roney, Co-Founder and Editor In Chief, XO Group Inc.; David Tisch, Managing Partner, Boxgroup and Co-Founder, Techstars NYC. 

The Take the H.E.L.M. competition was originally comprised of four tracks, but after Hurricane Sandy, an additional fifth track was added in which a Lower Manhattan company would be prioritized in order to help businesses potentially impacted by the storm. 

In the past decade, Lower Manhattan has seen over $30 billion in infrastructure investment and an influx of residents as well as new businesses, 86% of which are not financial related. Recently, both established and emerging companies such as Condé Nast, XO Group, and Fast Company have established their presence in Lower Manhattan. To further spur this growth, Take the H.E.L.M. is looking for innovative businesses that will bring additional talented employees to the neighborhood and further diversify the economic base of this central business district. The program is made possible by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Take the H.E.L.M. will begin its second competition later this year. For the latest updates, visit  



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