Tina Seelig (Stanford Technology Ventures Program) on Stanford + NYC

Tina Seelig, PhD (pictured in red jacket, above, teaching a Stanford course on creativity) is the Executive Director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University’s School of Engineering.

Our team at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) is privileged to play a role in educating the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, preparing them to see the world as a place rich with opportunity and full of potential.

As the entrepreneurship program at Stanford’s School of Engineering, centered in the department of Management Science and Engineering, we see our job as helping students to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed to turn the challenges around them into opportunities, and to build a better world. Whether they launch a startup, join an established company, or choose another path, these skills will be pivotal in helping them progress through their careers and to contribute to society.

At STVP, our philosophy is that it is no longer good enough for engineers and scientists to come out of school with purely technical training. They must have the entrepreneurial skills needed to bring their ideas to life. This is important for them as individuals, for the companies they found or join, and for the nation as a whole. We do this by providing them with the knowledge they need as well as experiences that hone their skills. They graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset, fully understanding that the challenges they face are opportunities, and that as entrepreneurs their role is to do much more than is imaginable with much less than seems possible.

Since the earliest days of Stanford, the university has been building bridges between our research labs, classrooms, and Silicon Valley to create scalable ventures that fuel the local and national economy. An iconic example occurred as early as 1939 when Engineering Dean Fred Terman encouraged students William Hewlett and David Packard to launch a company to commercialize an audio oscillator based upon work that Hewlett had developed as a graduate student in Terman’s lab. Since then, Stanford has fostered the creation of an ever-growing list of technology companies, including Varian, Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Yahoo, Rambus and Google. We would look forward to the bringing our knowledge and experience to New York City to help shape and support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, built upon the unique resources and culture of the community.

Our work at Stanford is attracting recognition and support on a national level. For example, STVP was recently awarded a five-year grant to launch a national center dedicated to unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit in undergraduate engineering students across the country. This National Center for Engineering Pathway to Innovation, or Epicenter, will be connecting the nation’s 350 engineering schools with the goal of igniting interest in entrepreneurship and sharing best practices in entrepreneurship education.

The NSF has also asked Stanford to help leading scientists commercialize new technologies through their new Innovation Corps program. Teams from around the country, including faculty members and PhD students, are participating in an intense, 10-week program designed to help them discover and test scalable business models based upon their discoveries. The first cohort of 21 teams is participating in this program right now. 

In all of our efforts, we will build upon our deep experience with online education. For the past ten years we have offered a free collection of materials on entrepreneurship that is both extensive and growing. Our ECorner website has thousands of videos and podcasts of entrepreneurial thought leaders, most of whom are from Silicon Valley. We look forward to expanding this collection with speakers from New York City. Along with other efforts, this will allow us to build strong ties to the New York City community of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and company leaders. 

New York City holds a very special place in my heart. My parents both grew up, went to college, and worked in New York City, and I grew up in New Jersey. I spent endless hours in “The City,” taking full advantage of the world-class cultural environment that continues to thrive. To me, New York City is an amazing jewel, poised for entrepreneurial growth. My colleagues and I are extremely enthusiastic about the potential to contribute to Stanford’s efforts to build a New York City campus. We look forward to building a vital bridge between Palo Alto and New York City, between Stanford and Roosevelt Island, and between the present and the future.

- Tina Seelig

This week at NYCEDC

This week at NYCEDC:

Have a great weekend, New York City!


Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Co-founders of Google, discuss Stanford’s tradition of innovation. 

“I don’t think I’ve seen the same kind of scale in research and commercialization pretty much anywhere outside of Stanford…and I think this is a really great opportunity for both the city as well as Stanford University to broaden its horizons.” - Sergey Brin, Co-founder Google

The Evolution of the NY Tech Scene and Need for Applied Sciences NYC


Andy Dunn is co-founder and CEO of Bonobos, now the largest apparel brand in the United States ever launched over the web. 

The start-up scene in New York has transformed dramatically since I arrived in 2007 to co-found Bonobos. At my one bedroom apartment at 17th and Irving where I lived with 400 pairs of pants, I felt alone. Potential employees and vendors eyed me skeptically, a crazy man talking about how the world was going to change. My harebrained vision was that the worlds of technology and consumer retail were about to collide and that room of pants was going to become a company.

Those who believed me were also the crazy ones; they are now founding employees and investors of Bonobos’ wonderful team. From them, and through the grapevine, we heard whispers of others with similar ideas. We met them and befriended them. Alexandra, Alexis, and Kevin at Gilt. The Jennys at Rent the Runway. Dave, Neil and the Warby Parker crew, who came through our offices seeking advice on vertical e-commerce; we now ask them for their insight. Joel and Tracy at StyleOwner. Katia and Hayley at Birchbox. Daniella, Amy and team at Bauble Bar. Chantel at Chloe and Isabel. And the list now goes on and on. 

It became clear it was not just technology and branded e-tail (as opposed to blanded e-tail: you know who you are) colliding for the first time, but a technology-enabled movement empowering consumers and individuals emerging out of New York. Foursquare. Etsy. Second Market. Tumblr. Kickstarter. Grovo. ZocDoc. And why wouldn’t it? NYC is the capital of individualism and consumerism. This is the experimental petri dish of humanity. It was only a matter of time before it got technology-enabled. Yes we do have Times Square. All strengths have their shadows. 

Like the story of how high schools eventually generate what the pros needs in Michael Lewis’ book The Blind Side, the investors started to show up about five years later. Accel Partners, our cutting edge investors, became the first blue chip west coast firm to set up shop here. Fred, unsurprisingly, was likewise out in front. Charlie and Phin planted the First Round flag. Kirsten of Forerunner Ventures started making trips. Jeremy from Lightspeed is always on the scene. Ben and his dad set up Lerer and did a partnership with SV. Founder Collective sprouted up. Mo and Bijan at Spark Capital. Techstars. Dogpatch. Thrive. And on and on and on and sorry I’m missing you, the money flowed in.

And yet, through all of these exciting arrivals, we must still ask, where are the engineers and the computer scientists? Why does hiring every VP of Engineering candidate take twelve months with four hiccups along the way? How can we afford NOT to have a new graduate school of applied science established right here in New York?

It’s simple: We cannot. Without it, we simply won’t have the talent pipeline we need to maintain this amazing momentum.

I couldn’t be more thrilled by the prospect of Stanford opening its doors on the shores of the East River. The jobs are here, and its presence would bring even more.  While America is not winning in all things, we do win, and can continue to win, at innovation.  Like the scene in the 90s edition Robin Hood where Kevin Costner kisses the sand, I think I speak for many in the technology scene in New York City when I say, “We are ready to pucker up to your island, sandy beaches or not.”

- Andy Dunn, Stanford GsB 2007


Mayor Bloomberg, NYU President John Sexton, NYU-Poly President Jerry Hultin and MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota today announced an historic agreement among the City, MTA, and a consortium of world-class 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 announcement is the next milestone in the City’s groundbreaking Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which seeks to increase New York City’s capacity for applied sciences and dramatically transform the City’s economy.

The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) will be a partnership of top institutions from around the globe, 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. The consortium will also include other highly respected academic institutions, such as City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, as well as two leading companies IBM and Cisco, and will grant academic degrees in engineering and sciences. NYU named Steven Koonin – a theoretical physicist who has served as Undersecretary of Energy for Science and as Provost of the California Institute of Technology – as CUSP’s inaugural director. New research and technologies developed at CUSP are expected to generate $5.5 billion in overall economic impact and 7,700 jobs over the next three decades.

Mayor Bloomberg said:

“Over the next five years, 370 Jay Street will be transformed into a cutting-edge center for research and science that will give another huge boost to our city’s economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our Administration has long seen the promise of Downtown Brooklyn, and we’ve made the investments needed to transform it into a thriving center for business. With the addition of this new campus, Brooklyn will be one of the most dynamic environments for entrepreneurs anywhere in the country.”

Find out more about the new applied sciences center in Downtown Brooklyn.

Image credits: NYU

Today, NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky speaks at Web 2.0 Expo NY

At the Web 2.0 Expo in New York today, NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky presents New York’s Entrepreneurs: Making the City Work for You:

Seth Pinsky, President of New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) – the City’s major engine for economic growth – will describe the rapid changes taking place in New York City’s startup scene and outline City resources available to entrepreneurs.

Historically, New York City has lagged behind its Silicon Valley and Boston counterparts in this field, but that is starting to change. Mayor Bloomberg … and his administration recognizes the enormous growth potential of these industries. The Administration has launched a series of initiatives, ranging from new incubators that provide affordable space to start-ups to a new City-funded angel investor fund, to training programs and competitions to create new mobile apps using City data.

One of the largest initiatives NYCEDC is working on, which Seth will describe in detail, is a challenge to bring a new world-class engineering school to New York City on city-owned property. Although the City is in the first stages of the process, the City has already received proposals from 27 top-tier academic institutions from around the world. The President will discuss these opportunities, among others, and share with the audience how they can work with the City to succeed.

Expo attendees, join us at 3:20 p.m. in Conference Room D. Feel free to live tweet us @nycedc and @appsciNYC with the hashtag #w2e. And if you can’t attend, stay tuned to our blog for photos and highlights.

New York Daily News: "Good times coming back to the city"

In their article “Good times coming back to the city,” The New York Daily News explores the economics behind NYC’s ascent out of the recession.

On NYC’s tech sector, they said the following:

New York … has given rise to Internet forces like Foursquare Labs and Gilt Groupe and spawned countless startups. Google, Facebook and Twitter have all opened major outposts here.

High-tech employment has grown 30% over the last five years to 90,000 jobs. “Every single company in technology is hiring,” said David Tisch, managing director, NYC, for TechStars, a technology incubator.

How does NYCEDC encourage growth in the tech environment? By offering the following initiatives:

Find out more via NYCEDC’s NYC Tech Stats & Facts infographic.

Applied Sciences NYC

Applied Sciences NYC is an unparalleled opportunity to develop a new or expanded applied sciences and engineering campus within the five boroughs. For New York City, increasing our applied sciences capabilities will dramatically increase our global competiveness and potential for economic growth, generating jobs and $6 billion in economic activity over the coming decades.  This important initiative will have significant impact on not only the City and New Yorkers, but on cities and people around the world.

We need your support in the very early stages of Applied Sciences NYC. We’re building a community of modern-day pioneers who are eager to explore and help define the future of the City.  Join the dialogue, contribute your thoughts and ideas, and stay informed about this important initiative:

Share this with your friends, family, and colleagues.  Be part of Applied Sciences NYC and help bring innovation to life.

Download the Applied Sciences RFP now: low-res PDF file (4.5 MB) or hi-res PDF file (15.2 MB). It is the responsibility of anyone downloading this link to check to download any addendums that may be released in conjunction with this project. All addendums must be signed and submitted with the final proposals.

Economic diversification: Reimagining the future

Great article in The Economist on New York City’s high-tech momentum:

The plan to open an applied sciences university campus in New York City, reckons Seth Pinsky, who heads New York’s Economic Development Corporation, is an “Erie Canal moment”.

The city’s embrace of high-tech has already begun. Tech clusters have emerged in Manhattan’s Flatiron District and Brooklyn’s Dumbo, home to firms like STELLAService and Etsy. Venture-capital firms and angel investors have been looking at New York more seriously than they once did. Henry Blodget, of Business Insider, notes “the financing ecosystem has also gotten very well developed, from late-stage private equity right down to angel investing.” Some $1.2 billion was invested by venture-capital firms in New York in 2010. The Big Apple even overtook Massachusetts in venture-capital funding for internet and tech start-ups, making it second only to Silicon Valley. And in the third quarter of last year, it surpassed it in venture capital in all categories. Between 2005 and 2010 employment in New York’s high-tech sector grew by nearly 30%. Google alone has about 1,200 engineers in the city.

Look out, Silicon Valley, indeed. Read the full article.

Watch on

President Bill Clinton hails Applied Sciences NYC in this ABCNews interview with Christiane Amanpour about job creation (go to the 7:56 mark):

The most important thing Mayor Bloomberg said recently is to offer land on Governor’s Island or Roosevelt Island or at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn for a new world-class science and technology research center. And he said he’ll kick in $100 million worth of investment if a group of universities puts one there, because he wants New York, in effect, to rival Silicon Valley as a technology center. That’s the kind of thing that works. If you want to put people to work, we’ve got to focus on what works.

Like Google, with its $2 billion Chelsea building, some of the most important tech companies have been looking east. Twitter opened major offices on Madison Avenue last year, and eBay announced in May that it’s moving some of its units to the Flatiron neighborhood. ‘They want to be in a big city,’ where, culturally, intellectually, financially, there are 'more of the best and the brightest,’ says Bloomberg. 'If intellectual capital is what you need, New York City is where you want to be.’

This week at NYCEDC:

Photo credit: Grace Bello/NYCEDC