A New York City-based tech incubator will establish a summer outpost in Ulster County. The project will introduce entrepreneurs from New York City’s tech scene to the Kingston area, helping to boost the region’s tech sector.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein says Grand Central Tech has committed to establishing a presence in uptown Kingston.
“We are bringing, at this point now, 150-plus entrepreneurs from New York City, and they are going to set up an outpost here for the better part of three months, throughout the summer, so they can really experience what it’s like to be and live in this area. And many of them, we expect, will expand their operations right here to our community. It’s a unique business attraction model, but we couldn’t be more excited,” Hein says. “We always believed that once someone experiences Ulster County and the quality of life, it’s clearly someplace that they’re going to want to do business.”
It’s Grand Central Tech’s first foray outside New York City. It will set up “Grand Central Tech North” in the Senate Garage, which also is home to one of the area’s leading tech firms: Dragon360. Grand Central Tech is a venture platform, providing resources for transformational startups to achieve scale. Kale Kaposhilin is co-founder of Hudson Valley Tech Meetup as well as software development company Moonfarmer. He says the arrangement with Grand Central Tech is a first for Kingston.
“There’s been a desire for shared co-working space. In fact, the owners of the Senate Garage, who also own Dragon360, have been playing with this a little bit, offering space for professionals to collaborate together,” Kaposhilin says. “This is going to be one of the first times, though, that an organization has come to the area to provide that shared working opportunity, which is a lot about creating an environment where people can be with each other, work side by side on different projects, connect with each other and support each other’s work.”
Grand Central Tech founder Matt Harrigan says the net was cast far and wide for a summer outpost, but after speaking with Hein and meeting with local tech leaders like Kaposhilin, they realized that Kingston had the right fit for its members – proximity to New York City, great food and culture, and a community of highly engaged tech entrepreneurs. Again, Hein.
“Our proximity to the metro-NY area has been invaluable, it has all the benefits of proximity while simultaneously having all the benefits of an upstate community that’s walkable, that has history, that has farmers markets and has a quality of life that you simply can’t get in the New York area,” Hein says.
Hein says Ulster County leverages scenic and cultural resources to compete with surrounding areas and small cities throughout the nation to attract highly talented, creative professionals. For tech businesses, it’s what Kaposhilin calls bringing humanity into tech.
“My hope is it that it will extend beyond the summer. I think it very well could. And I’m really proud of what we’ve done here by creating a ‘tech community’ that is human-focused first,” Kaposhilin says. “And, the fact that organization like Foursquare, organizations like Grand Central Tech are being drawn to the region now I think reflects that love and that human characteristics that we’re emphasizing and supporting with our community development efforts.”
During the summer, Grand Central Tech’s visiting members will be encouraged to participate in a range of local activities, including tech-themed workshops and panels as well as local festivals and events. The Ulster County Economic Development Alliance, which is sponsoring Grand Central Tech’s summer presence in Kingston, will partner with GCT, the Senate Garage, and Hudson Valley Tech Meetup to coordinate participation in these events and activities.