Fashion capital USA gets a fashionable accelerator – Upstart

The UpTake: A consortium of fashion companies want in on the startup act, and they’re funding an accelerator for tech companies focused on the runway.

Some of New York’s largest fashion brands are backing a new small-business incubator designed to make sure the city’s dominance in fashion extends to fashion technology.

The New York Fashion Tech Lab, a 12-week program lasting from May to July, will host companies working in the broad “fashion tech” space, including data standardization, customer engagement, security, radio-frequency identification and more.

Applications to join the competitive program will be accepted through April 4 at

“We’re looking for entrepreneurs who have innovative technology solutions that address the needs of the fashion and retail industry, including technologies from other sectors that can be redirected to fashion and retail,” said lab co-chair Kay Koplovitz, a board member of Kate Spade & Co., one of the founding members companies.

Backing will come from Springboard Enterprises, a Washington, D.C. “venture catalyst” (where Koplovitz is chairman) and the Partnership Fund for New York City, the investment arm of the business advocacy group.

Other founding fashion companies include ANN INC., the Estee Lauder Companies Inc., J. Crew, Macy’s and Ralph Lauren Corp. are among the founding members. Each of those member companies will make senior-level employees available to companies participating in the program for advice, guidance and mentorship opportunities.

The program will culminate in July with a demo day for participating companies.

The lab is based on similar programs in other industries, including the FinTech Innovation Lab, the New York Digital Health Accelerator (both products of the Partnership Fund), and the Springboard Enterprises Accelerator program.


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