New Role at Cornell Tech

29th September, 2014 No Comments Blog

Just under two weeks ago, I joined Cornell Tech as Investor-in-Residence (IIR), spending one day a week at the school’s temporary campus in Chelsea. I’m very excited about Cornell Tech and the new role. I’ll use this post to share a bit of information about Cornell Tech in case you’re not updated on the latest developments there. I’ll also give an overview of the IIR position, in the hope that some readers will reach out with relevant insights and offers of help.

First, a bit of background on Cornell Tech. In 2010, then-Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Economic Development Corporation issued a challenge they called Applied Sciences NYC – an open RFP process through which New York City invited universities from around the world to propose plans for a new graduate school of applied sciences. The winner would be awarded access to city land and up to $100 million. After a competitive process involving seven final proposals from 17 institutions, Cornell’s bid in partnership with the Technion was announced the winner in December 2011.

Cornell Tech will ultimately be a $2 billion, 2 million-square-foot campus on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. The first academic building is scheduled to open in 2017.


For now, Cornell Tech is housed in the Google Building in Chelsea, where it opened in 2012. The school offers masters and PhD programs in engineering and applied sciences, with an overarching goal of translating on-campus research, in partnership with the business and other local communities, into practical applications with impacts far beyond the university setting.

The IIR role is a new one for Cornell Tech, and, like a number of initiatives at the new institution, a novel one for an academic setting. As such, we are defining the role as we go, but @gregpass, Chief Entrepreneurial Officer at Cornell Tech, and I have discussed a couple of activities that will define the role. The first is advising students and faculty as they work to turn their research and classwork into products and commercial ventures. The second is collaborating with Greg, Dean Huttenlocher, and other faculty and staff on ways to create permanent catalysts and support structures to assist faculty and students in developing practical applications for their research over time.

After my first day at Cornell Tech last week, I have the definite sense of the enormous opportunity that Cornell Tech has to positively impact New York City and beyond. I look forward to helping how I can and to writing about some of the initiatives at the school in this blog.

In order to make time for the IIR position, angel investing, and some other projects I am pursuing, I have moved to a part-time, Venture Partner role at Gotham Ventures. More on some of the aforementioned “other projects” in the coming months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *