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I’m delighted to report on two years of vibrant activity at the Entrepreneurial Institute amid what has been the greatest public health, economic and social disruption of our time.

Innovation thrives in times of upheaval, with entrepreneurs by their nature creating opportunity and moving nimbly to solve timely challenges. The level of startup activity has risen nationally over the last two years, and that has certainly held true at NYU. Although much of our startup programming has remained virtual until recently (NYU resumed in-person classes September 2021), our students and faculty founders have accelerated the pace of startup creation, growth and fundraising to record levels. Over the last three years, led by 2021-2022, our teams raised more than $744 million. We have also seen record demand for our programs and resources, with a 119% increase in applications to our accelerator programs across the board in the 2020-2021 academic year vs. 2018-2019.

Many of our teams went into overdrive to tackle problems created or revealed by the pandemic and expedited those solutions to market. Our founders have pressed their expertise and ingenuity into service to advance COVID-19 PCR testing (Opentrons), engineer mobile negative-pressure spaces for hospitals (Aeragen), and respond to new ways of doing business in a pandemic economy (Wrapbook). When shutdowns and isolation exacerbated an already pressing mental health crisis, MyWellbeing had the vision and infrastructure to meet increased need. Two other teams featured in this report, Sabai and ViBILLER, are also advancing solutions for a brighter, more sustainable future.

The rise in demand for entrepreneurial support coincides with a recent push on our part to expand and diversify opportunities for NYU founders. Last year, for the first time, more women-led teams were accepted into our accelerators than men-led teams—a radical and important inversion of industry trends, thanks in part to our award-winning Female Founders Fellowship. And our Tech Venture Program has drawn an impressive array of teams seeking to bring NYU research and innovations from the lab to the market. Meanwhile, one of our earliest programs, the Innovation Venture Fund, has two recently minted unicorns among its portfolio companies and achieved top quartile performance for early-stage venture funds.

Our campus home, the Leslie eLab, transcends physical bounds, and, while our traffic has been a fraction of pre-pandemic activity, we quickly adapted to working, meeting and running our programs remotely. One silver lining of the pandemic is that we’ve been able to extend our reach nationally and globally, drawing founders from as far away as Thailand, Colombia and the Netherlands, and increasing the geographic reach of our coaching and mentoring networks.

Still, there are things we have missed terribly in the last two years. It’s hard to recreate the serendipitous connections and discoveries that happen in the margins and interstitial spaces around in-person activities, waiting in line for lunch or mingling after an event. We have tried to foster that informal camaraderie in the virtual realm but are thrilled to be once again meeting in person.

I have often said that we rely on the kindness of strangers to do what we do here. With demand for startup support at record heights, we need your kindness—in the form of philanthropic support and programmatic collaboration—now more than ever. Please join us today to shape the future of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Frank Rimalovski digital signature

Frank Rimalovski
Executive Director


With our record demand for startup support, your contribution has an immediate impact. When you support innovation and entrepreneurship, you foster new ways of thinking and working for a better world.