When we think of Lower Manhattan, we envision towering skyscrapers, Wall Street, tourists, and the 9/11 Memorial. But a hotbed of innovation? A technological melting pot where companies creating everything from electronic greeting cards to apps are coming to live?
The downtown landscape has changed, and so have its inhabitants. With an upsurge of tech companies signing leases below Chambers Street (around 600 tech companies are based here) the Downtown Alliance has ushered in LaunchLM, a community initiative designed to care for, connect and attract similar kinds of businesses.
The Alliance’s co-working space, the Hive at 55, now doubles as the LaunchLM headquarters, where it’s hosting lectures, hack-a-thons, and educational workshops. Another major focus of the initiative is hosting networking opportunities, since it’s hard to connect with people when we don’t know who, or where, they are.
Scott Anderson, a partner at Control Group and a member of the LaunchLM leadership council, put the situation into perspective: “It’s no longer all about finance or government—innovation has become part of the fabric of the district. As a tech entrepreneur in the district, it’s exciting to know that I’m surrounded by a strong and vibrant group of like-minded people from a variety of industries.”
Anderson is among a group of leaders from the New York City tech community guiding the initiative, including Dawn Barber, co-founder of New York Tech Meetup, Dan Chiu, founder of HD MADE, MaryLiz Ghanem, Global Director, Corporate Communications at Sapient, Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures, Adam Neumann, Founder at WeWork, Carley Roney, co-founder, XO Group Inc., David Tisch, Managing Partner at BoxGroup, and Bill Rudin, Vice Chairman and CEO of Rudin Management Company.
Some of the efforts underway by LaunchLM include:
- A new website (www.Launch-LM.com) that is serving as the digital hub for the initiative. The website features info on events, workspaces, parks, restaurants, nightlife and how to get involved with LaunchLM and other tech companies
- Programming that brings together tech companies already here through lectures, networking events and happy hours
LaunchLM is also working with the NYEDC’s program Take the H.E.L.M., a competition designed to attract critical, high-growth industries to Lower Manhattan. Take the H.E.L.M. will award up to $250,000 towards office build-outs and rent to four winning companies who locate here.