New York Fashion Tech Lab is changing its theme for the class of 2016.
The early-stage start-up accelerator, which has already had two incubator programs since its inception in 2014, will help Springboard Enterprises celebrate its 15th birthday by focusing solely on early- and growth-stage, women-led fashion technology firms to join next year’s class. Applications for the class, which it is now accepting, must have at least one woman on the management team with a significant equity stake. Firms could be involved in 3-D printing, business intelligence, fit-tech, geolocation, point of sale and stockkeeping-unit intelligence.
The fashion tech accelerator is funded mostly by retailers, with some backing from Springboard Enterprises and the Partnership Fund for New York City. The venture capital funding is used primarily for back-office operations. A key aspect of the fashion tech accelerator is its mentoring component during the incubator period with sponsor firms in the fashion, retail and beauty industries.
Over the past 15 years, Springboard has assisted many women-led early stage firms in a wide range of industries that include many milestones: 599 women-led portfolio companies; $6.8 billion in capital raised; 150-plus mergers and acquisitions transactions, and 11 initial public offerings.
Amy Millman, Springboard’s cofounder and president, said, “The fashion tech accelerator is premised on looking at the needs of large corporations, both brands and retailers, and what’s on [their] wish list….We’re seeing in every sector, especially in fashion, that people who are coming up with the solutions needed are not necessarily from the industry [the solution is aimed at].”
One area in fashion tech that Millman said continues to gain traction is the wearables market, although data and consumer behavior still have the attention of companies that are focused on omnichannel.
Karen Moon, the chief executive officer and founder of market intelligence platform Trendalytics, participated in the inaugural class in 2014. Moon, who had angel investors prior to her NYFTL experience, was able to secure additional investors for a seed round through contacts in the program.
Cathy Han, ceo and founder of intuitive data analytics firm 42technologies.com, was in NYFTL’s second class this year. Since she completed a fundraising round before the lab started, her experience was focused on forming new business connections with firms that she otherwise would not have had access to on her own.