Press Releases

New York City Economic Development Corporation Announces Third Class of “NYC Venture Fellows”

Annual Program Connects 30 Entrepreneurs from Around the World with Mentors from Leading Companies

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Fordham University today announced the newest class of NYC Venture Fellows, an annual, year-long program to help emerging entrepreneurs from around the world to grow or expand their businesses in New York through executive-level mentoring and exclusive networking opportunities. NYC Venture Fellows, now in its third year, will begin on February 25th with a series of events, including an opening reception, meetings with leading New York City companies, workshops, panel discussions, and cultural events. The 2013 class of Venture Fellows is comprised of 30 entrepreneurs – selected from hundreds of nominees and applicants – from six different countries, representing a diverse cross-section of industries such as media and emerging tech, biotech, fashion, education, financial services, and real estate. The fellowship aims to increase collaboration among startups and established businesses, as well as encourage local and international startups to grow their businesses in New York City.
“In its two years of existence, NYC Venture Fellows has taken an innovative approach towards nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in our City,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky.  “By providing emerging entrepreneurs with the mentorship needed for their businesses to take critical steps forward, we are continuing to work towards our goal of securing for New York City the unquestioned title of global capital of innovation in the 21st Century.”
“The Venture Fellows program is a model for partnerships between universities, government, and private industry,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “The exposure to current business needs benefits Fordham’s faculty and curriculum, and our intellectual capital is  a terrific resource for the fellows and the firms involved in the program.”
Originally launched in December 2010, NYC Venture Fellows provides leaders of fast-growing companies with mentorship and networking opportunities to assist them in achieving the next level of growth for their company and personal careers, and provides counsel on issues specific to each fellow’s business. The program is designed for entrepreneurs whose businesses are at a critical stage in development, where the companies have the potential to substantially increase their employment. Fellows and mentors will meet regularly over the course of the year to draw on the experience of the mentors and explore how to maintain company culture during periods of rapid growth.
The 2013 class of NYC Venture Fellows are: Amit Avner, Co-founder & CEO of Taykey; Edward Barrow, CEO & Founder of idio; Piraye Beim, Founder & CEO of Celmatix Inc; Constantin Bjerke, Founder & CEO of; Adam Braun, Founder & CEO of Pencils of Promise; Rameet Chawla, Founder & Lead Information Architect of Fueled; Carter Cleveland, Founder & CEO of Artsy; Reese Fernandez, President & Founding Partner of Rags2Riches; Jason Freedman, Founder & CEO of 42Floors; Jeremy Friedman, Founder & CEO of Schoology; Ari Goldberg, CEO of StyleCaster; Pep Gomez, CEO & Founder of Fever; Vipin Goyal, CEO & Co-founder of SideTour; Urs Haeusler, CEO of DealMarket; Sachin Kamdar, CEO of; Riggs Kubiak, Founder & CEO of Honest Buildings; Lily Liu, Founder & CEO of PublicStuff; Meghan Messenger, Co-founder & Chief of Staff of Next Jump; Jason Richelson, Founder & CEO of ShopKeep POS; Elias Roman, CEO of Songza; Benzi Ronen, Founder & CEO of Farmigo; Rachel Shechtman, Founder of STORY; Mei Shibata, Co-founder of ThinkEco; Zach Sims, Co-founder & CEO of Codecademy; Shane Snow, Co-founder of Contently; David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology; Alex Torrenegra, Co-founder of VoiceBunny; Alexis Tryon, Founder & CEO of Artsicle; Eben Upton, Executive Director of Raspberry Pi; and K Young, CEO of Mortar Data.
These fellows were selected by the following committee of leaders from the private and non-profit sectors: Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, Lawrence Lenihan, Founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital and Father Joseph McShane, President of Fordham University.
A select group of established executives including investors, serial entrepreneurs, CEOs and managers from companies located in New York City will serve as Mentors to the NYC Venture Fellows. Mentors include Sol Adler, Executive Director 92nd Street Y; Steve Brotman, Managing Partner at Silicon Alley Venture Partners; Juan Luis Cebrián, Chairman of PRISA; Brian Cohen, Chairman of New York Angels; Simon Collins, Dean of Fashions of Parsons The New School for Design; Mark Peter Davis, Venture Partner at High Peaks Venture Partners; Owen Davis, Managing Director at NYC Seed; Sander Flaum, Founder of Flaum Partners; Bob Greene, Managing Partner at Contour Venture Partners; Eric Hippeau, Partner at Lerer Ventures; Steve Hodas, Executive Director at NYC Innovate Schools; Jonathan Hsu, CEO of Recyclebank;  Arrun Kapoor, Managing Director at SJF Ventures; Charlie Kim, CEO of Next Jump; Jack Kincaid, Managing Partner at Business Strategies Group; Warren Lee, General Partner at Canaan Partners; Lawrence Lenihan, Founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital; Ben Lerer, Co-founder of Thrillist Media Group and Lerer Ventures; Rob LoCascio, CEO of LivePerson; Tad Martin, CEO of Collective[i]; Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at; Heidi Messer, Chairman of Collective[i]; Gregory R. Miller, Managing Director at Greenhill & Co.; Alan Morgan, Chairman of MMC Ventures; Brian O’Kelley, CEO of AppNexus; Peter Price, Chairman of Premiere Previews; Donn Rappaport, CEO of ALC; Mazdack Rassi, Founder of Milk Studios; Nathan Richardson, Co-founder of #waywire; Frank Rimalovski, Managing Director at the NYU Innovation Venture Fund; David S. Rose, CEO of Gust; Bill Rudin, Chairman of Rudin Management Company; Aaron Shapiro, CEO of HUGE; Karl Slatoff, Partner at ZelnickMedia; John Tognino, CEO of Pepper Financial Group; Jack Welde, Founder and CEO of Smartling; and Lilian Wu, Program Executive, Global University Programs, IBM Technology Strategy and Innovation.

The inaugural class of NYC Venture Fellows in 2011 consisted of 21 fellows from some of New York City’s fastest growing ventures including Foursquare, Etsy and SecondMarket. Other fellows were international digital media pioneers, nonprofit entrepreneurs, and cleantech innovators from countries including China, Germany and India. In 2012, the second class of venture fellows included the leaders of fast-growing NYC-based ventures including Rent the Runway, Warby Parker, MakerBot and Lot18. Other international fellows included entrepreneurs from countries including China, Switzerland and Ethiopia. In addition to mentorship, 2012 fellows also attended a series of events, including CEO breakfast roundtables; networking events with local and international entrepreneurs, program stakeholders, and other business leaders; and other New York City industry and cultural events.

NYC Venture Fellows is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of sectors. With a growing network of incubators around the City, the Administration is providing low-cost office space, as well as training and networking opportunities, to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses. In addition, in 2010, the City launched the $22 million New York City Entrepreneurial Fund (NYCEF), the first City-sponsored seed and early-stage investment fund located outside of Silicon Valley.
For more information on the NYC Venture Fellows program, go to


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 us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About Fordham

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 15,100 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in West Harrison, N.Y., the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre at Heythrop College, University of London, in the United Kingdom.


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Contact Info

Patrick Muncie (NYCEDC)


Bob Howe (Fordham)