Good morning. It’s Tuesday. Technology is booming in Brooklyn. We will see two big money infusions for entrepreneurs and technology there. We will also meet a prosecutor with a history of taking on Donald Trump who will join the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Brooklyn, which has outpaced the rest of the city in creating tech jobs and is home to tech-reliant companies like Etsy and Kickstarter, is getting more money for research, development and innovation, much of it coming from the owners of the Brooklyn networks.
This week BK-XL, a Brooklyn-based early-stage accelerator for businesses started by minority entrepreneurs, began accepting applications for investments of up to $500,000. BK-XL was created by Clara Wu Tsai, a philanthropist who, along with her husband, Joseph Tsai, owns the Barclays Center and the Nets. She said that she envisioned “an entrepreneurial hub that will be inspired and empowered by location and diversity, just like Brooklyn itself.”
BK-XL will accept applications until January 20 before choosing 12 companies to receive initial investments of $125,000 each, in exchange for a 7 percent equity stake. The businesses will also be eligible for additional investments of $375,000 each if they remain in Brooklyn for at least one year and meet their growth targets.
“When we think about the economic landscape and the opportunity to support the founders of BIPOC, Brooklyn is an amazing place to do it,” he said. daniel acheampongco-founder and general partner of visible hands, a venture capital firm that joined the Tsais Social Justice Fund at BK-XL. Her and her husband. Joseph Tsai, co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is also the owner of the New York Liberty basketball team.
“In terms of numbers alone, the black community makes up 22 percent of the city’s population, but only 3 and a half percent of New York City businesses are owned by black entrepreneurs,” Acheampong said. “This shows that there is a gap where we should be investing in BIPOC projects.”
BK-XL says the talent pool of people of color in the technology sector is stronger in New York than in other major markets. He says black and Hispanic workers make up 21 percent of tech employees in the city, more than double the proportion in the San Francisco Bay Area or Boston.
But Acheampong said few minority entrepreneurs starting businesses get help from accelerator programs, which typically provide funding and mentoring for start-ups during set periods. Clara Tsai said Brooklyn “has typically lacked the kind of institutional investments needed to build a community of successful business-backed businesses, especially in communities of color.”
BK-XL will have office space in Industry City, the 16-building complex in Sunset Park that is home to tech and biotech startups. The 12 companies will also have space there during a 10-week immersion program with BK-XL, which could help entrepreneurs make connections for future business.
$1 billion for NYU’s engineering school
Industry City is a couple of miles from 3 MetroTech Center, the 10-story building in downtown Brooklyn that New York University bought in September for its Tandon School of Engineering. In the past week NYU said it planned to invest $1 billion in NYU Tandon to improve its position among competitors and raise the profile of the city in the technology sector.
The $1 billion includes $600 million already slated for NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and an additional $400 million in new funding. The money will go towards renovating labs and student spaces at NYU Tandon and expanding its focus on cybersecurity, wireless technology and artificial intelligence. NYU also plans to hire 40 tenured faculty.
The result will be an upgraded campus that Jelena Kovacevic, the dean of NYU Tandon, said “would like an adult candy store.”
But my colleague Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura writes that an education at NYU Tandon may be out of reach for many New Yorkers. The total cost of attendance for students on campus is more than $83,000 a year. Low-income students often pay less because of financial aid: about $23,000 in the 2020-21 school year, according to federal data.
That’s more than double what the lowest-income students pay at Columbia University after accounting for financial aid, according to the federal College Navigator website. At the CUNY College of Technology, the full price of state students was close to $26,000but with financial aid, the out-of-pocket figure dropped to less than $2,500 for the lowest-income students.
Expect cloudy skies, occasional rain and above average temperatures today, with a high in the mid 50s. Temperatures won’t drop much tonight.
ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING
Valid until Thursday (Immaculate Conception).
The latest news from New York
The official, 48-year-old Matthew Colangelo, also worked on New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ separate but parallel investigation of Trump.
His arrival at Bragg’s office came as jurors in a separate case brought by Bragg’s office began deliberating.
They returned to the courtroom just once, to hear Judge Juan Merchan repeat his instructions on one of the 17 charges facing the Trump Organization. They are weighing whether the actions of Trump Organization executives, particularly the company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, implicate the company itself.
The judge told jury Monday that the prosecution must have successfully proven Weisselberg intended to help the company when he arranged benefits for himself that included a rental department, cable TV service and luxury cars.
Colangelo’s arrival marks the latest twist in a long investigation that began before Bragg took office in January. His predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., had ordered prosecutors to present evidence to a grand jury to show that Trump had illegally inflated the value of his assets. Bragg worried about the strength of the case, and when he told the two prosecutors leading the investigation that he wasn’t ready to authorize the charges, they resigned.
That seemed to cloud the future of the investigation, though Bragg said it was continuing. In recent months, his prosecutors have reverted to a hush money payment to a porn star who said she was having an affair with Trump.
An owl on West 81st
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My husband and I were on West 81st Street on an unusually warm fall afternoon. A group of us were gathered in front of the Excelsior Hotel around a very small owl that peered up from the sidewalk with otherworldly eyes.
A man told people to avoid stepping on the owl while a woman redirected those approaching with dogs. She appeared to be a baby, although she didn’t have any baby fluff. The tiny feathers on him were elegant and ripe. He surely he was injured and couldn’t fly.
We all got out our phones, took pictures of the bird, and searched the internet for bird rescue groups. Finally, someone contacted the operator of the rescue center and told him to take the owl to an office on the East Side, where it would receive proper care.
“I have a box in my apartment,” said one man.
“No,” someone else said, “I think I have a bag you can use.”
The sense of camaraderie was palpable.
“I’m used to handling wild animals,” said an elegantly dressed older woman wearing gloves despite the heat of the night.
He bent down to pick up the owl, which seemed calm and quite interested in the group that had gathered. She turned her head freely to take in all of us.
When the woman caught up with the owl, it hooted loudly, spread its small wings, and flew toward the nearest tree.
Spontaneous joy broke out as we ran to the tree to make sure our little friend was really okay. By the time we got there, he had flown into the night.
I’m glad we could meet here. See you tomorrow. —J.B.
Melissa Guerrero, Morgan Malget and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].