Why Network Owners Fund Tech Startups

Why Network Owners Fund Tech Startups

Hello. It’s Tuesday. Technology is booming in Brooklyn. We’ll be looking at two big cash injections for entrepreneurs and technology there. We will also meet a prosecutor who has previously faced Donald Trump and is joining the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Brooklyn, which has outpaced the rest of the city in creating tech jobs and is home to tech-dependent businesses like Etsy and Kickstarter, pulls in more money for research, development and innovation — and much of it comes from owners of Brooklyn Nets.

This week, BK-XL, a Brooklyn-based startup accelerator for businesses started by minority entrepreneurs, began accepting investment requests of up to $500,000. BK-XL was created by Clara Wu Tsai, a philanthropist who, along with her husband, Joseph Tsai, owns the Barclays Center and the Nets. She said she envisions “an entrepreneurial center that will be inspired and fueled by location and diversity, much like Brooklyn itself.”

BK-XL will accept applications until January 20 before choosing 12 companies that will receive initial investments of $125,000 each, in exchange for a 7% stake. Businesses will also be eligible for additional investments of $375,000 each if they stay in Brooklyn for at least a year and meet their growth goals.

“When you think about the economic landscape and the opportunity to support the founders of BIPOC, Brooklyn is an incredible place to do so,” said Daniel Acheampong, co-founder and general partner of Visible Hands, a venture capital firm. which is associated with the Tsais. ‘ Social Justice Fund at BK-XL. Her and her husband. Joseph Tsai, co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, also owns basketball team New York Liberty.

“In terms of numbers, the black community represents 22% of the city’s population, but only 3.5% of businesses in New York City are owned by black entrepreneurs,” Acheampong said. “It shows that there is a gap where we should invest in BIPOC projects.”

BK-XL says the talent pool of people of color in the tech industry is stronger in New York than in other major markets. It says black and Hispanic workers make up 21% of the city’s tech employees, more than double the share in the San Francisco Bay Area or Boston.

But Acheampong said few minority entrepreneurs starting businesses receive help from accelerator programs, which typically provide funding and mentoring to start-ups for set periods of time. Clara Tsai said Brooklyn “generally lacks the kind of institutional investments needed to create a successful venture capital-backed business community, especially in communities of color.”

BK-XL will have offices in Industry City, the 16-building complex in Sunset Park that is home to new technology and biotechnology companies. The 12 companies will also have space there during a 10-week immersion program with BK-XL, which could help entrepreneurs make connections for future business.

Industry City is a few miles from 3 MetroTech Center, the 10-story building in downtown Brooklyn that New York University purchased in September for its Tandon School of Engineering. Last week, NYU announced plans to invest $1 billion in NYU Tandon to improve its position among competitors and raise the city’s profile in the technology sector.

The $1 billion includes $600 million already earmarked for NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and an additional $400 million in new funding. The money will go towards revamping labs and student spaces at NYU Tandon and expanding its focus on cybersecurity, wireless technology and artificial intelligence. NYU also plans to hire 40 tenure-track faculty members.

The result will be an improved campus that, according to Jelena Kovacevic, Dean of NYU Tandon, “would like an adult candy store.”

But my colleague Kimiko from Freytas-Tamura writes that an education at NYU Tandon may be out of reach for many New Yorkers. The total cost of student attendance on campus is over $83,000 per year. Lower-income students typically pay less for financial aid — about $23,000 in the 2020-21 school year, according to federal data.

That’s more than double what lower-income students pay at Columbia University after financial aid is taken into account, according to the federal website College Navigator. At CUNY’s College of Technology, the overall price for in-state students was close to $26,000, but with financial aid the amount paid fell to less than $2,500 for the lowest-income students.


Expect cloudy skies, occasional rain and above average temperatures today, with a high in the mid-50s. Temperatures will not drop much this evening.


Valid until Thursday (Immaculate Conception).

The official, Matthew Colangelo, 48, also worked on the separate but parallel investigation into Trump by New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

His arrival in Bragg’s office came as jurors in a separate case brought by Bragg’s office began deliberating.

They only returned to the courtroom once, to hear Judge Juan Merchan repeat his instructions on one of the 17 charges facing the Trump Organization. They assess whether the actions of Trump Organization executives — particularly the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg — implicate the company itself.

The judge told the jury on Monday that the prosecution must have successfully proven that Weisselberg intended to help the company when he arranged perks that included a rental apartment, cable television service and luxury cars.

Colangelo’s arrival marks the latest twist in a long-running investigation that began before Bragg took office in January. His predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., had ordered prosecutors to present evidence to a grand jury to show that Trump had illegally inflated the value of his assets. Bragg grew concerned about the strength of the case, and when he told the two investigating prosecutors he was not prepared to authorize charges, they resigned.

This appeared to cloud the future of the investigation, although Bragg said it was continuing. In recent months, his prosecutors have reverted to a silent payment to a porn star who said he had an affair with Trump.


Metropolitan Diary is the place for stories by and for New Yorkers. Now we ask for your help in choosing the best journal entry of the year. Voting ends December 19 at midnight.

Dear Diary:

My husband and I were on West 81st Street on an unusually warm fall evening. A group of us were gathered outside the Excelsior Hotel around a tiny little owl looking up from the sidewalk with otherworldly eyes.

A man told people to avoid stepping on the owl while a woman redirected those approaching with dogs. He looked like a baby, even though he had no baby stuffed animals. Its tiny feathers were smooth and mature. He was surely injured and unable to fly.

We all took out our phones, took pictures of the bird, and searched the internet for bird rescue groups. Eventually, someone reached a rescue center operator and was told to bring the owl to an east side office, where he would receive proper care.

“I have a box in my apartment,” one man said.

“No,” someone else said, “I think I have a bag you can use.”

The sense of camaraderie was palpable.

“I’m used to handling wild animals,” said a smartly dressed elderly woman who wore gloves despite the evening heat.

She bent down to pick up the owl, which seemed calm and quite interested in the group that had gathered. He turned his head freely to greet us all.

When the woman grabbed the owl, it screamed loudly, spread its small wings and flew to the nearest tree.

A spontaneous cheer erupted as we ran to the tree to make sure our boyfriend was really okay. By the time we arrived it had flown in the night.

— Melaney Mashburn

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Submit your submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.

Glad we can meet here. Until tomorrow. —JB

PS Here is today’s one Mini-crosswords and spelling bee. You can find all our puzzles here.

Melissa Guerrero, Morgan Malget and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at nytoday@nytimes.com.

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