If you’re one of the lucky fashion tech startups chosen for the new New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFTL), you’ll be spending this summer collaborating with brands like Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Estee Lauder, Macy’s, J. Crew, and Ann Taylor.
The NYFTL, which announced applications today, is a three-month accelerator program taking place from May to July. Startups will enjoy mentorship, workshops, and private events – but no funding – on top of the relationships with retailers.
Each team will be assigned one or two brands to work with, who will help them understand what retailers are looking for in the realm of fashion technology. Startups might request a meeting with Ralph Lauren’s merchandising team, for example, or get feedback from Kate Spade’s data team. A C-level executive from each company will be the teams’ contact and will be involved weekly in the program. After the summer’s over, startups may end up landing a pilot program with one of the retailers.
According to Lisa Morales-Hellebo, executive director and cofounder, this direct contact with big-name brands solves a huge pain point for fashion tech startups. Right now, she says, it might take three to six months to get a meeting with a retailer, and a year or more to actually launch a pilot. And it’s hard to raise funding to stay alive during that time.
NYFTL is a collaboration between Springboard Enterprises, the accelerator for women-led startups, and the Partnership Fund for New York City, which invests in entrepreneurs to build the economy through programs like the FinTech Innovation Lab and the Digital Health Accelerator.
They’re looking for four to six startups, and the application deadline is soon – April 4 – so apply now!