NYCEDC and FirstMark Capital Announce NYC Entrepreneurial Fund Investment in Groundbreaking Technology Company Invision
Investment Is the Fourth Round of Funding by the City-Sponsored Investment Fund, Which Will Help Provide Seed Capital to Company Making New Prototyping Software for Collaborative Application Design
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and FirstMark Capital today announced the next round of investment of the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund (NYCEF), naming innovative technology company InVision as the fund’s newest seeded company. InVison, a New York City-based start-up,is a pioneer of new prototyping software whichempowersweb and mobile application designers to create simulations of their designs which will look and behave exactly as the finished product. NYCEDC has allocated $200,000 to InVision through the NYCEF, which will allow the company to continue to enhance their product and grow to become an integral part of New York City’s culture of innovation. In addition to the City’s contribution, InVision has also received funding from a number of other prominent venture capital firms, including FirstMark Capital, in order to help them further their efforts. Originally launched in 2010, this is the fourth round of investment by the NYCEF, a $22 million fund which is the first of its kind outside Silicon Valley. Managed by FirstMark Capital, a leading New York City-based venture capital firm, the fund’s goal is to provide promising New York City technology start-up companies with early-stage capital. The City, through NYCEDC, contributed $3 million to establish the fund, and FirstMark Capital has committed up to $19 million.
“This investment is another example of the Bloomberg Administration’s strong commitment to supporting our City’s talented entrepreneurs and creating conditions that will allow for continued growth within our emerging technology sector,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky. “Early-stage funding for start-ups is critical to their development, and we look forward to watching these promising new businesses grow and become an important engine for the City’s economy for decades to come.”
“As the cost of software development continues to plummet, design has emerged as the key differentiator between a company’s product and those of its competitors,” said Amish Jani, Managing Director at FirstMark Capital. “InVision enables designers to rapidly test high-fidelity prototypes with real users, which translates to less time spent with mock-ups and more time spent iterating on actual user feedback.”
"Great design and NYC have always gone hand-in-hand,” said InVision CEO Clark Valberg. “That said, we're really excited to be teamed with the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund to help fuel the next generation of designer-led innovations."
Originally launched in 2011, InVision’s user interface (UI) prototyping tool allows designers to easily create simulations of web and mobile applications that enable them to express and view their ideas before they begin the full design, development, and coding process. The product provides users with an interactive and user-friendly platform, as well as a wide variety of designs that can range from a simple black-and-white wireframe to a more sophisticated pixel-perfect design. The platform also offers unique social and collaborative capabilities, allowing designers and stakeholders to provide feedback and market-testing in real time, ultimately accelerating the time between the product’s development and when it is able to hit the market. The collaborative feedback and exchange of ideas also helps designers increase their responsiveness and ensure that the web and mobile products being created are both aesthetically pleasing and fully functional.
Thanks to the cutting-edge UI software, InVision has already developed a strong and growing customer base while capturing the attention of many within the technology industry. Designers at some of the world’s top start-up and Fortune 500 companies have embraced the InVision user experience design to tailor their products, including Google, eBay, Zappos, and Whole Foods. In the coming months, InVision expects to release a complete reimagining of their platform with a special emphasis on designer and stakeholder collaboration, as well as communication and rich user testing.
Launched in May 2010 as a partnership between NYCEDC and FirstMark Capital, the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund invests in early-stage technology companies in New York City. FirstMark Capital provides industry insight, proprietary relationships and operational expertise needed to ensure the seeded companies reach their ultimate potential, and is also responsible for sourcing and evaluating potential investments, negotiating terms and conditions, and closing each seed investment. It monitors the performance of the companies in which its funds and in which the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund are invested, and it will actively work with other leading venture firms and seed investors in New York City to co-invest in these opportunities. Interested companies and entrepreneurs can apply online at http://www.firstmarkcap.com/firststeps.
The fund’s first investment went to MyCityWay, a mobile application provider that developed NYC Way, one of the winning digital applications of the City’s inaugural NYC BigApps competition. Since 2010, the company has grown to over 70 cities and is nearing 5 million activations. The company has received two rounds of investor funding and grown to 15 people in the New York office and additional team members around the world. In 2011, the NYCEF also invested in Jirafe, which helps eCommerce store managers grow their online businesses, and Medico.com, a global health-focused Internet company allowing users around the world to gather and share locally-relevant health care information.
The NYC Entrepreneurial Fund is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s larger efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of economic sectors. With a network of ten incubators around the City, the Administration is committed to providing low-cost office space, as well as training and networking opportunities, to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses.Last year the City also launched Applied Sciences NYC, a groundbreaking initiative which was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s record of creating a better diversified and more competitive economy for the future. In the technology sector, employment in New York grew by nearly 30 percent between 2005 and 2010, with total employment now at nearly 120,000. Also, last year New York surpassed Boston to become the number two recipient of venture capital funding for technology companies, while in the third quarter of 2011, New York surpassed Boston in venture capital funding across all categories.
In July of 2011, NYCEDC issued the RFP for Applied Sciences NYC, seeking a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land – at the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island, or on Governors Island – and the full support and partnership of the Bloomberg Administration. In October, the City received 7 responses from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe. In December of 2011, the City created its first partnership, providing a consortium led by Cornell and the Technion with land on Roosevelt Island and $100 million in City capital to build a $2 billion, 2 million square foot tech campus. When completed, the new Roosevelt Island campus will nearly double the number of full-time, graduate engineering students enrolled in leading New York City Master’s and Ph.D. programs. In April, the City created the second partnership of this initiative with a consortium of top academic institutions and private technology companies that will lead to the creation of the NYU Center For Urban Science and Progress, to be located in Downtown Brooklyn. The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) consortium will be led by NYU and NYU-Poly, and will focus on research and development of technology to address the critical challenges facing cities, including infrastructure, tech integration, energy efficiency, transportation congestion, public safety and public health.Negotiations continue with other institutions who submitted Applied Sciences NYC proposals, including Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University.
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 FirstMark Capital
Based in New York City, FirstMark Capital is an early stage venture capital firm investing in visionary entrepreneurs who are creating new markets with innovative technology solutions or fundamentally changing existing markets by applying a fresh approach or new business model. FirstMark partners early in a company's lifecycle, offering deep industry insight, a broad network of relationships and the operational expertise to build lasting businesses. Select historical investments include Riot Games (Acquired by Tencent); Duck Creek Technologies (Acquired by Accenture); Netgear; Boomi (Acquired by Dell); StubHub (Acquired by eBay); Netegrity (Acquired by CA); OutlookSoft (Acquired by SAP); and Navic Networks (Acquired by Microsoft). Current investments include: Pinterest, Knewton, Aereo, SecondMarket, Shopify, Lot18 and Lumosity. For more information, visit: www.firstmarkcap.com .