New Enterprise Associates Prepares Studio for Startups by NY Designers

3/27/13Follow @jpruth

On the hunt for designers who have caught the entrepreneurship bug, venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates is starting a twelve-week program, the NEA Studio, in New York for Web and mobile startups.

Dayna Grayson, a partner with NEA, says the objective is not to set up another incubator or accelerator but rather a personalized, entrepreneur-in-residence–style program. The chosen designer-founders are expected to build up their ideas into companies over the three-month period.

The expectation, Grayson says, is that designers will create platforms and apps that can attract immediate interest as well as long-term demand. “Beyond getting initial user traction, you have to be able to garner massive user adoption over time,” she says.

The program is open to designer-founders who aim for the consumer and enterprise markets. Participants will work out of the Work-Bench technology cooperative in Union Square.

Grayson says while there are many designer-founders in other locales such as Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, her firm saw the greatest need for the program in New York. “It’s an experiment right now,” she says. “If it goes well, there’s nothing to say that we wouldn’t expand it to the Bay Area or other cities later.”

The studio, Grayson says, is one of several efforts by the firm to find entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas. NEA has a big enough footprint to potentially conduct an interesting hunt: It has U.S. offices in Menlo Park, CA, the Washington, D.C. area, and New York, and overseas outposts in China and India.

Mentors for the program will include NEA investors and portfolio companies, as well as design professionals and startup founders such as Josh Berman, CEO and founder of BeachMint; Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer with TripAdvisor; and Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov.

Applications are being accepted through the end of March with the program to start April 30.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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