The Dealerscope Insider Talk series recently welcomed Robinson Hernandez, the executive director of Urban Tech Hub @ Company, whose goal is all about helping startup tech entrepreneurs, “get a leg up and then grow and prosper.” The company is an outgrowth of startup accelerator Grand Central Tech, located adjacent and connected to New York’s Grand Central Station.
Perhaps this statement on their website best explains exactly what the company does: The Urban Tech Hub is a one-of-a-kind space built to support and materially advance the prospects of entrepreneurs and companies seeking to address New York City’s most pressing urban challenges in sectors such as mobility, logistics, infrastructure, open data, and clean tech.
Dealerscope Publisher Tony Monteleone and Editor-in-Chief Nancy Klosek began the discussion by cutting straight to the reason Urban Tech Hub @ Company exists.
“The birth for the company really came from the idea that New York City is interested in trying to find a way to cultivate growth and to reinforce what we call the ‘smart city’ or urban tech community,” began Hernandez.
Now roughly four years into this venture, Hernandez has focused his efforts on creating an ecosystem where governments and local organizations from around the world can showcase the ways they are leveraging technology to support daily life.
With a background steeped in initiatives centered on helping the small business sector, Hernandez has navigated city bureaucracy for years. Included in those efforts are his time as Deputy Commissioner of Small Business Services for the City of New York, where he led a task force on regulatory reform and economic development to change the way the city interacts with small-business owners.
The @ Company part of the Urban Tech Hub equation came about through an accelerator program called Grand Central Tech that quickly attracted growing start-up tech companies from various sectors. A partnership with the aforementioned Grand Central Tech quickly emerged and grew into a 50,000 square foot space adjacent to New York’s Grand Central Station.
“This effort now is really on the next step in the development of these startups,” he explains. “We’re focusing on growth stage companies that have generated roughly $1 million in revenue with 10 employees or more and that have already gone through some level of fundraising. We are currently accommodating about 40 companies that fit that description in this space.”
Beyond providing the office space, Urban Tech also helps these companies engage with local governments and provide access to government and other partnerships.
“We currently have partnerships with a number of large companies like Google, JetBlue, Mastercard and these companies are looking at ways to engage with the tech community,” Hernandez added. “So we also present a great opportunity for these entrepreneurs to engage on this level.”
By providing the space, the programing and the access to high level partnerships, Urban Tech Hub @ Company has created a community of innovation where startups can move from early stage growth to what is perhaps the most important part of their development, taking flight. In this COVID-era we are all dealing with today, that last stage can be a major challenge, but Hernandez remains optimistic.
“These are obviously tough times right now, but we need to stay positive, there is a lot of innovation going on out there today – and companies are finding solutions to these challenges,” he concluded. “Stay engaged. Things are going to get better. We’re in this together New York!”
To check out the full discussion with Robinson Hernandez, click here.