By Dave Sebastian, Staff Writer
With additional research by Kaitlin Milliken and Caitlin Harper
It’s hard to compete with Wall Street when it comes to global influence and importance. In fact, in 2018, New York’s financial hub surpassed London in one key ranking (thanks, Brexit!).
But in New York these days, there’s comparable energy emanating from Chelsea, where Google’s New York outpost has been expanding not far from Mastercard Labs, venture capital firms like Work-Bench and Union Square Ventures, and IAC, the publicly-traded Internet and media company that owns Angie’s List, Tinder, and Vimeo. And on Roosevelt Island, Cornell University and the Israel Institute of Technology have been building a new graduate school, Cornell Tech, from scratch.
Amplifying and analyzing the city’s innovation scene has also been a focus of the City of New York. The city unveiled in March 2017 the Brooklyn-based Neighborhood Innovation Lab, which aims to address the neighborhood’s concerns through technology and is modeled after President Barack Obama’s Smart Cities Initiative in 2015. Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2011 initiated an innovation index to track the city’s innovation activity.
You can see 25 innovation hubs on the map below, including shared startup spaces that have corporate involvement or sponsorship, as well as R&D or investing outposts that are part of Fortune 500 companies. (We’ll also be visiting two of these spaces in May 2019, for a one-day event we call a Deep Dive. Learn more here.)
American Express Ventures
The venture-capital arm of American Express invests in startups specializing in consumer payments, digital marketing, and business-to-business services. Its main office is located in Palo Alto, Calif.
Adidas Brooklyn Creator Farm
Housed in a warehouse in Greenpoint, the Adidas Creator Farm serves as a creators’ haven. The facility has a designer’s area as well as the Brooklyn MakerLab, where designers can get access to the machinery and materials needed for truly impressive sneakers.
Barclays’ shared working space is geared toward FinTech startups. The companies are focused on sectors like cybersecurity, AI, wealth management, investment banking, big data, and cryptocurrency. Among the 60 companies based at Rise are participants of Barclays Accelerator, a 13-week program run by Techstars and involving Barclays executives as mentors. Rise announced a major expansion in early 2019.
Company (formerly Grand Central Tech)
This co-working space seeks to create a hotel-like experience for the companies that it houses. Company includes “dining venues, a bar, event spaces, a wellness center, and outdoor space among other amenities” and seeks to put “hospitality first,” according to its website. Corporate innovation partners include GE, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Bose.
Dow Jones & Co., which is part of the $8 billion News Corp., publishes the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, and Barron’s. The company, which is among the first news organizations to commit to the online subscription business model, channels much of its innovation into developing mobile news apps. It has also been testing emerging technologies such as image recognition and voice-activated systems into news apps.
Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., the social-media giant has had a presence in New York since 2007, but began building an engineering team here in 2012. The company, which ranked No. 7 on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work this year, maintains its startup vibes in its Manhattan office. Hackathons, open-layout workspaces, and a well-stocked pantry are among the features the office boasts. Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) and the company’s machine learning department both work out of the Manhattan office.
FinTech Innovation Lab
The 12-week accelerator program, sponsored by the Partnership Fund for New York City and Accenture, offers early to growth stage enterprise technology companies access to potential investors and business leaders from New York financial and insurance companies.
First, Google bought a building for $1.9 billion in 2011 to house an array of its teams, from Google Maps to YouTube. Then it bought the Manhattan Chelsea Market across the building for $2.4 billion in March 2018. Now, it’s set to unleash $1 billion on the Google Hudson Square campus, which will consist of buildings at 315 and 345 Hudson St., as well as 550 Washington St. on Manhattan’s West Side. With its expansion, the tech giant is set to double its New York workforce from its current 7,000 employees.
IBM’s much-ballyhooed AI technology tries to emulate human thinking, and famously beat a human at “Jeopardy” a few years back. The Lafayette Place digs are also home to IBM design thinking groups.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s. Technology Hub
Focused on building the company’s “digital everywhere” strategy, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s. Technology Hub aims to build the banking technology of the future. The casual atmosphere and open spaces are designed to help the company attract new talent.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS
A past winner of Innovation Leader’s Impact Award, Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS is a physical space open to biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, and consumer health companies that partner with or attract investment from J&J. JLABS also runs QuickFire Challenges that work on “cross-sector solutions to prevent, intercept or cure diseases,” according to the company website.
“Eat, create, and chill.” That’s the motto at Kellogg’s NYC, a cereal cafe where customers can build their own gourmet bowls out of the breakfast basic. At Kellogg’s NYC, customers can test new products before they roll out. The brand can also observe how customers interact with their products.
One of the Big Four accounting firms, KPMG launched its New York project-focused workspace in 2017. KPMG Ignition works internally and with KPMG clients to help them translate “signals into action.” The in-house Insights Center has data visualization capabilities designed specifically for group collaboration.
lululemon Lab Store
One of two design concept spaces for the company, lululemon’s Lab Store allows designers, brand managers, photographers, and accessory curators to get closer to the customer by working on the retail floor. Collections found in the stores are made in limited quantity exclusive to the location.
A part of the company’s global research and development division, Mastercard Labs focuses on customer trends that affect the payment space. Projects include internal crowdsourcing platforms for new ideas, two-day long idea challenges, and fast-paced, cross-department project sprints.
MLB Advanced Media
Founded in 2000, MLB Advanced Media aims to deliver interactive experiences to baseball fans. Projects include working on streaming media, mobile apps, and connected devices.
Nike House of Innovation 000
In the company’s six-story Manhattan store, customers get a taste of futuristic shopping. Features include the Nike Speed Shop, a system that uses local purchase data to restock shelves and pick-up lockers that allow shoppers to reserve items from their phones for later pick up.
Formerly used as a naval machine shop during both World Wars, New Lab’s ecosystem includes over 100 member companies that have raised over $450 million in capital. Corporate partners include JetBlue, GE, and Intel.
New York Life Ventures
In 2012, New York Life, the US’s largest mutual life insurance company, launched its venture arm. Since then, the company has committed $200 million in funding to the initiative, made 29 investments, and worked with over 100 startups to run proof-of-concept tests.
PepsiCo Design & Innovation
PepsiCo Design & Innovation seeks to “to connect the [company’s] beverage, snacks and nutrition portfolios with today’s hyper-connected, networked users … [through] relevant brand experiences across multiple touchpoints and regions of the world,” according to the company’s website.
Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation
Established in 2010, Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation operates facilities near academic campuses in New York, Massachusetts, and California. In New York, the center is located close to the NYU Medical Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Well Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Pfizer scientists collaborate with medical researchers to develop therapeutic drugs.
Shake Shack Innovation Kitchen
Opened in September of 2018, Shake Shack’s Innovation Kitchen is the hub of the company’s menu development. Chick’n Bites, the company’s first foray into the nugget game and the Kitchen’s initial project, rolled out nationally for a limited time in January of 2019.
Samsung’s innovation group is divided into three parts: NEXT Products, which focuses on the future of software; Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm; mergers and acquisitions, and partnerships. The goal is to “think and act like a startup,” according to the company website.
Tata Innovation Center
Tata Innovation Center is located on the Roosevelt Island campus of Cornell Tech. It provides space for “Cornell Tech students hustling to commercialize a new idea, start-ups on the verge of explosive growth, established companies developing leading-edge technologies and products, as well as academic teams conducting groundbreaking research,” according to its website.
Work-Bench, a venture-capital company that invests in enterprise tech startups, operates a 32,000 square feet workspace in Union Square for its companies. Among the sectors Work-Bench invests in are big data, enterprise infrastructure and machine learning.