The New York City area below Chambers Street is fast becoming a hub for technology companies lured by a number of programs and tech incubators. A new initiative, dubbed LaunchLM for “Launch Lower Manhattan,” wants to entice even more technology businesses to set up shop there.
In an interview with Dice News, LaunchLM Director Daria Siegel said the program is designed not only to grow the neighborhood’s tech sector, but also to connect and support existing businesses.
Created by the Alliance for Downtown New York, LaunchLM will offer lectures, hackathons, workshops and networking events for the tech community. More than 600 technology companies are already located below Chambers Street, says the Alliance. According to Siegel, lower Manhattan is a “very easy sell” for tech companies looking for a home base. “There’s a diversity of industry, and there’s the people and culture,” she says. Since 2005, tech and creative services companies have accounted for nearly 30 percent of relocations to the area.
The Alliance started LaunchLM along with a council of New York City technology, real estate and venture capital leader, that includes Dan Chiu, Founder of HD MADE, a digital creative agency; Bill Rudin, Vice Chairman and CEO of Rudin Management Company, a real estate firm; and David Tisch, Managing Partner of BoxGroup, a boutique angel investment fund.
Chiu tell us the area is a perfect environment for new companies. “There’s a real energy building in lower Manhattan, whether it’s the Fulton Street Station, the World Trade Center being built and the many other tech firms here,” he says. Chiu founded his company in 2010, then moved it from Soho to lower Manhattan in 2012.
The LaunchLM website will offer details on networking events, lectures, programming, and workspaces. The initiative shares space at 55 Broad Street with the Hive at 55, the Alliance’s technology incubator. LaunchLM has two full time staffers and is already planning to add more, Siegel says.
LaunchLM is also partnering with Take the H.E.L.M., a competition designed to bring high-growth companies into lower Manhattan, that’s backed by The New York City Economic Development Corporation. The four winners selected receive a total of up to $250,000 toward office build-outs and rent for locating in the area.