North America’s top tech incubator is expanding across the border: the DMZ at Ryerson University has opened a new office in New York City.
Located at Primary overlooking Battery Park, the 25,000-square-foot space puts emerging entrepreneurs in the heart of New York’s financial district. The space, which opened June 13, includes private offices, coworking zones, a fitness studio and a lounge area, and also hosts monthly events for peers and mentors.
“There’s a massive market in New York City,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ. “There is a large number of investors to support our companies in growing, but more importantly, there’s a big base of customers. We want to think globally. All our companies at the DMZ have a mandate to be internationally minded, and we have to provide the opportunities to expand internationally.”
The new office comes at an opportune time to capture a new market, Snobar says. “Everybody’s looking at Canadian talent more than they ever have before. Canada has become a global leader in so many different ways. Our talent has become some of the most recognized and sought-after in the world. How do you create avenues and channels for us to create opportunities? Americans are also looking at us because there’s a huge discount on the currency. People are looking at investing in Canadian companies because it’s a huge return on investment.”
He added that the space will serve as a hub for the Ryerson community. “We know that we have more than 900 alumni in New York City. How can we create a headquarters where we can support our entrepreneurs and build a network, but also create a closer link to alumni of the university?”
For Ami Shah, CEO and co-founder of the mobile education start-up Peekapak (incubated at the Ryerson DMZ), working at the New York office will provide valuable networking opportunities. “We’re very committed to being a Toronto-based, Canadian company, but most of our customers are in the U.S. now. There are also investors and publishers in the area we’d like to connect with, so it’s very timely for us to have this opportunity.
“I had a couple of sales calls on Thursday and Friday, and the reassurance to say, ‘Oh, we have space in the area to work from…’ helped us secure some of our largest sales.”
Since launching in 2010, the DMZ at Ryerson has incubated 293 startups which have raised $307 million, and fostered the creation of 2,789 jobs. The New York office will help the brand expand its reach even further, said Snobar. “The space isn’t just for DMZ companies—the space is for companies from all across the country. We’re making this a priority for us, but also opening up the doors of opportunity for all Canadian startups.”
To learn more about the DMZ’s New York office, go to DMZ.to/newyork.