Press release: NYC Media Lab Launches The Combine -- New Funding for High Potential Media Startups from NYC Universities


25 September 2015

Supported by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, NYC EDC and NYC Media Lab member companies, new program will match faculty and students with industry  mentors to advance new technologies and business concepts

NEW YORK -- NYC Media Lab, a consortium of universities and media and technology companies, today announced NYC Media Lab Combine, a new program to commercialize emerging media technologies from faculty and students at the city’s universities. The program is supported with generous funding from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and through the support of NYC Media Lab’s corporate membership. A grant pool of $250,000 will be available in 2016, the first year of the program. Applications are now open at

“The mission of NYC Media Lab remains the same as at its inception: to build a program of engagements between institutions of higher education and the digital media and communications industry to encourage the next generation of talent and technology innovation in New York City,” said Justin Hendrix, Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. “The Combine will match entrepreneurs and technologists from the City’s universities with expertise from NYC Media Lab’s member companies to build companies that will change the way media is produced, distributed, consumed and monetized.”

“We are thrilled to partner with NYC Media Lab to launch Combine,” said Luis Castro, First Deputy Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “Transforming ground-breaking ideas into pioneering businesses, Combine will expand the ways we tell and share stories. This evolution will further New York City’s economic growth, generating new jobs in the media industry and strengthening New York’s status as a thriving center for creating content.”

“NYC Media Lab has served as a vital link between our vast tech ecosystem and our most creative media businesses and educational institutions,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “The new Combine grant program will encourage our world-renowned academic institutions and businesses to push the envelope of media-tech innovation and experimentation, helping to further establish New York City as a thriving technology and media capital of the world.”

Faculty, students and other university-affiliated entrepreneurs and technologists are invited to submit concepts they believe have high potential at NYC Media Lab, with input from member companies and advisors, will select teams to initially advance into a market validation program, including an entrepreneurship curriculum, supported by an an initial grant of up to $25,000. An initial cohort of 5-10 teams is anticipated in 2016, drawing on a grant pool of $250,000.

Throughout the Combine program, NYC Media Lab will match teams with industry mentors. At the end of the program, teams will pitch their concept to NYC Media Lab corporate member advisors and potential investors at a demo day. Teams will receive ongoing program support to foster successful enterprises.

Applicant teams should focus on:

  • Developing products, service offerings or technologies that advance the future of media and communications

  • Enabling new forms of communication, new concepts and systems for the creation, distribution or consumption of media

  • New methods for understanding, analyzing or evaluating media

These could include, but are not limited to: applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, video, wireless communications, virtual and augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces, social media and more.



Jovana Rizzo

Berlin Rosen



About NYC Media Lab

Founded in 2010, NYC Media Lab is dedicated to driving innovation and ultimately job growth in media and technology by facilitating collaboration between the City’s universities and its companies. Comprised of a consortium including eighteen member companies and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York University, Columbia University, The New School, CUNY, the School of Visual Arts, IESE and Pratt Institute, NYC Media Lab's goals include generating research and development, knowledge transfer, and talent development across all of the City’s campuses. More is at


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives. More is at

About The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment serves as the one-stop shop for the entertainment industry, promoting the City of New York as a thriving center of creativity, issuing permits for productions filming on public property, and facilitating production throughout the five boroughs. Today, the City hosts record levels of episodic television series as well as hundreds of films each year. Last year, more than 240 films shot in New York City, and during the 2014-2015 season, 46 episodic series were produced in the City. The City’s production industry employs 130,000 New Yorkers and contributes billions of dollars to the local economy. More is at