This semester’s Hospitality Innovation Hub (HI Hub) Incubator marks the Tisch Center’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality’s second competition in which NYU affiliated hospitality startups are given the opportunity to develop their business and compete for cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. The Spring 2022 Cohort demonstrates the program’s mission to foster timely business ideas in line with sociocultural visions and support NYU affiliates in their entrepreneurial journeys. The Incubator Program director, Recep “Richie” Karaburun DPS, MBA, most commonly known as “Dr. K”, notes the significant opportunity that the Incubator offers to members of the NYU community. In a recent conversation regarding this spring’s Incubator Program, Dr. K reflects, “I teach entrepreneurship classes and many students in the past came up with great ideas but we didn’t have an incubator, now we can really encourage students and there are tools if they want to actually pursue their dreams”.
In comparison to the fall 2021 cohort, the spring cohort is composed of more early-stage startups, supporting the Incubator’s overall mission to nurture NYU startups whether they are an established company or, as is the case with two of this spring’s finalists, an early idea born in NYU classrooms. Since the Incubator Program’s kickoff last semester, there has been more outside discussion on its success which even led to some industry professionals reaching out to join this spring’s group of mentors and investors. The program’s current mentors and investors include individuals from companies including the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Google, Edible Brands, RateGain, and more. This program would not be possible without the wonderful mentors and investors who are taking the time to help develop these businesses and form connections with their matched finalists. The participating startups meet with their mentors every month and use the mentors’ and investors’ valuable industry experience to help grow their businesses leading up to the competition’s culmination and pitch day, “Pitch Your Passion & Seal the Deal” - set for Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 11:00am-1:30pm EST. More information on the program’s concluding event and how to RSVP can be found here – the event will be hybrid with attendees able to join via Zoom or come in person to the HI Hub.
A new development for the spring 2022 cohort is that the program has built in the opportunity for all of the five finalists to meet and get to know one another. While the businesses are competing against one another, they offer complimentary ideas and can introduce their fellow finalists to various resources or business insights. Just as the program’s mentors bring unique experiences and perspectives to their mentees, the Incubator Program being a school-wide endeavor and having participation from alumni and NYU students across schools means more viewpoints and positive collaboration. The support that the finalists have for each other is apparent and their ongoing correspondences have helped them to become a tight-knit group that actively works to empower every member of the cohort.
The spring 2022 cohort consists of 5 startups that exemplify diversity on multiple fronts. All five of the competing businesses, ArtForm, Camp Snack, Chixa, Go Gig, and The Local Hotel have female founders, a significant increase from only one of the six businesses from the fall having female representation. Additionally, the spring cohort is composed of individuals from various cultures and backgrounds which helps to further diversify the program. Dr. K has expressed significant pride in knowing that this semester’s businesses emulate the diversity that can be found in the hospitality industry.
Further, the spring cohort offers a holistic view in terms of covering many different facets of the hospitality industry. As a Tisch Center initiative, all of the participating businesses must fit within the realm of the hospitality industry. This spring’s finalists range from having an emphasis on the meetings and events sector of the hospitality industry to hotel-oriented startups and food and beverage business concepts. And while finalists do not have to be Tisch Center students, this range of ideas is a good reflection of the Tisch Center’s diverse course offerings and students’ ability to center their education around their interests within the hospitality sector. This variety of businesses has also been noted by the program’s mentors and investors who have praised the multiple forms of representation that this cohort offers. The HI Hub Incubator is a significant point of pride for the Tisch Center and with this spring marking only the Incubator Program’s second cohort, the HI Hub will only continue to grow and create new opportunities for the NYU community.
The HI Hub is also hosting an upcoming panel moderated by Dr. K with guest speakers, William Bissett, Todd Buelow, and Bel Gilman. The “Playbook to Start and Scale a Start Up” event will be Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 11:30am-1:00pm EST, and will take place via Zoom. Further details and the RSVP form can be found here. The HI Hub also has a newsletter, which interested parties can sign up for to receive information here. Newsletter archives can also be accessed for any who missed past editions. Anyone is encouraged to visit the HI Hub on the 7th floor of NYU SPS (7 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003) and explore the space and its resources.