On Thursday night at Google’s New York offices in Chelsea, IncubateNYC co-founders Brian Shields and Marcus Mayo held a coming-out party for some of the entrepreneurs they work with. It has been quite the evolution for IncubateNYC, which is an independent program that Google lends some support to.
What began as an effort to create a technology incubator in Harlem has developed into a five-week boot camp to give startups in the city an intensive push to mature their concepts. “They work on their ideas, get their prototypes built, and then they launch into continuing incubation,” Shields says.
IncubateNYC brought together its first group of startups in July. Thus far the program has been run in Harlem and Brooklyn. After companies graduate from the program, they report weekly to their peers on their progress. “When you graduate, you have to set yourself a road map for at least three months,” Shields says.
Startups from the program attending last night included Husky Laboratory, which developed a Web app that creates chat rooms on any webpage, and Sienna Naturals, a line of natural products for babies and mothers of all skin tones. Also on hand last night were familiar faces from the investment community, such as Brian Cohen, chairman of New York Angels.
The permanent Harlem incubator has not been established yet—pending the gathering of various resources—but Mayo and Shields are moving forward with their program to help entrepreneurs get started. “We have a couple of plans for spaces [for the incubator] and we’re trying to find the right deal,” Shields says.