At NYIT, LaunchPad gets back to basics

Andrew Hazen: Think big.

LaunchPad Long Island, the chain of independently operated co-working spaces, has wandered a little far afield from an original focus of tech-centric startups, but its latest space at NYIT Old Westbury’s campus will be hyper-focused on young companies working in Internet applications, bioengineering and other technology fields.

“If you came to me with a consumer product like a new heel for a shoe, you might be able to get some desk space or help in Great Neck or Huntington, but NYIT might not be a great fit for you,” founder Andrew Hazen told Innovate LI. “The focus at NYIT is going to be on cyber-security, medical devices and green tech.”

Refocusing on tech makes the most sense for the NYIT location, according to Hazen, especially since the new facility – which officially opens its doors this week – is housed inside NYIT’s 8,000-square-foot Entrepreneurship Technology Innovation Center, which opened in March.

“This will be more aligned with their mission,” Hazen said. “Tech is more in conjunction with their vision and what they’re set up to do. And if you’re going to be working in any of those areas – green tech or IT or medical devices – you can leverage the great resources of the university.”

LaunchPad NYIT offers workspace for up to 10 small businesses and access to the university’s students and staff, as well as the entrepreneur center’s 100-seat “smart “ auditorium and dedicated data center. It will be managed by David Luft, a former senior VP of software engineering at CA Technologies.

The new facility boasts no tenants yet, but managers are already planning some getting-to-know-you events, including what Hazen termed a “fireside chat” with a Long Island Internet entrepreneur and a July pitch night.

Such events, the founder noted, have helped attract tenants to the other LaunchPad LI facilities – commercially operated in Mineola, Huntington and Great Neck – a pattern organizers hope to repeat in Old Westbury.

“When [entrepreneurs] come to these events, they realize it’s a great place and start making inquiries,” he said.

Hazen, who is also CEO of Hicksville seed fund Angel Dough Ventures, noted there are no other new LaunchPads nearing launch at this time, though he’s “always sharing conversations or taking meetings.”

“We’ve met with various towns and private developers, but there are no other facilities that are close right now,” Hazen said.