The Redesigned Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School Is Open For Applications From Rising Leaders in Media and Journalism

Today I am excited to announce that I, in partnership with Raju Narisetti, will be leading the redesigned Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School. The program is designed to train the future leaders of the world’s most impactful journalism and media organizations during a time of rapid transformation, uncertainty, and opportunity. The next program kicks off in January and applications are now open.

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For those of you who have been following my journey building Matter Ventures, you know that I made the difficult decision to pause late last year in order to flare on new and different ways to make a difference in the space. Many of you reached out saying how much Matter has impacted you and your organization. …

I’m proud of the impact we’ve made at Matter, the team we’ve built, and the people that we have transformed. But now it’s time for me to explore.

As all Matter entrepreneurs know, venture design is a process that consists of a series of flaring and focusing, knowing how and when to explore and knowing how and when to execute. In a flare, you uncritically explore and ideate; when you’re focusing, you filter and execute on your ideas. Successful venture designers do that as many times as possible as they create a venture that is feasible, viable, and desirable. I call this journey “The Drunken Walk of the Entrepreneur.

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Recently I’ve come to the realization that for the last 7 years I have been in extreme focus mode. Since starting Matter from scratch in 2012, Matter has raised 2 venture funds, run 8 accelerator cohorts, invested in 73 portfolio companies, brought together 12 institutional media and technology partners, delivered 5 partner accelerator programs, trained local news organizations across the United States and Asia Pacific through Open Matter, assembled a network of 340 mentors, established media innovation spaces and communities in both SF and NYC, and built a team of extraordinary human beings on both coasts. We’ve proven that our repeatable and scalable venture design process works. Matter startups have raised over $53M and have been acquired by companies like Snap, Buzzfeed, and Kickstarter. In this tough early-stage media space, Matter startups have proven to be resilient, with 84% of our Fund II companies still operating or achieving an exit. And, in an industry with a terrible track record of diversity and inclusion, 50% of our Fund II founder CEOs are women and 40% are people of color. …

Today, we launch Open Matter: Local News Bootcamps with Google News Lab, News Media Alliance, and 4 Top J. schools.

When the old model is broken, what will work in its place? The answer is nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for lots and lots of experiments.— Clay Shirky

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Matter was founded in 2012 as a place for experiments in media to happen, from both outside and inside existing media institutions. To date, we’ve supported 61 media start-ups (with 12 more to be announced shortly) and 12 media institutions in testing new media products and business models in ways to meet the real needs of their audience, leverage emerging technologies, and seek sustainable business models. …

Matter Ventures is about to open our garage door to our seventh accelerator class. We’ve spent the last few months sourcing courageous entrepreneurs building ventures that speak truth to power, close the empathy gap, and take a radically inclusive approach to amplifying the voices of all people. On June 5th, they’ll start their 20-week Matter journey supported by a community, culture, and process that sits at the intersection of design thinking, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and the future of media that matters.

You have an opportunity to join them on this journey.

We are hiring two full-time Program Coordinators to join the Matter team — one in San Francisco and one in New York City. Our Program Coordinators have the potential to create and support a truly world-class experience for entrepreneurs whose ventures help create a more informed, inclusive, and empathic society.

With four new hires, the Matter team is ready to deepen our impact right when it is needed most.

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Matter’s newly expanded team will allow us to deepen our impact in both San Francisco and New York City.

We were made for this moment.

Matter was founded four years ago on the principle of applying the values of journalism and public media to the methodologies and mindsets of design thinking, entrepreneurship, and venture capital.

We started as a scrappy team of two. After three years and five cohorts, we decided to grow our team to six and then rapidly expanded from San Francisco to New York City. Our first bicoastal cohort was a success and I am in awe of what we were able to accomplish last year. But the way we did it — with lots and lots of flights between SF and NYC — was unsustainable. …

An informed and connected public is the bedrock of democracy. But with our journalistic institutions under threat economically, politically, and culturally, that bedrock is cracking. We need to strengthen our media ecosystem.

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Winter is here.

I felt the bite of the wind most deeply when I got the email from another parent who had been on my daughter’s playground the day after that terrifying night:

The girls were standing in a circle
Comparing skin color
And deciding who was safe
And who was not.

These were first graders.
In Oakland.
On 11/9.

Day One of Trump.

I broke down. Terrified.
Was this my country now?
Nightmare. Sheer terror. Please wake me up. Wake up!
This is not my America.

But it was. I was awoken.

This is how it feels to be terrified of authorities.
To feel the machines of a totalitarian state begin to screech and turn and target you.
To look around at your fellow citizens and not know who is friend and who is foe. …

The New York Times joins Matter, Google News Lab supports our space, and we welcome 12 new media startups into our community.

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Our incredible new space in Union Square, New York City, home to 7 startups in the Matter Six program

In March, I announced that Matter, the world’s only independent start-up accelerator focused on media, was going to launch in NYC in June. We didn’t have a space, we didn’t have any new partnerships supporting our launch, and we didn’t know what the demand would look like from NYC media startups. But we did know one thing— action creates opportunity. So, with a bias towards action, we landed in the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” took the LIRR from JFK to Penn Station, and began to create some opportunity.

Today, I am excited to announce that, as we open our doors to our new Matter NYC space right on Union Square, we welcome The New York Times as our newest media partner, Google News Lab as the supporter of our NYC space, and the 12 media startups that make up our first bicoastal Matter cohort — Matter 6. …

We’re expanding Matter to NYC…and bringing SF with us.

In less than 30 minutes, with the swipe of a Metro Card, you can go from the hallowed halls of The New York Times in Midtown to the hipster heaven of Vice in Williamsburg.

You can have breakfast with the CTOs of all the major media companies while overlooking Central Park and then run to The New School where media and tech professionals are drawn by intrinsic motivation to, as a side-hustle, teach the next generation of creators in a design thinking environment.

You can pitch media-focused VCs at Betaworks or Union Square Ventures or Lerer and then strike a distribution deal with Buzzfeed or Quartz or Hearst. …

Invest in innovators.

Update: this role has now been filled. Thanks for your interest!

We pulled it off in record time. In just 13 weeks, Matter expanded to New York City, built out a new space on Union Square, and launched our first bi-coastal accelerator class on June 13. We selected 6 NYC-based startups and 6 SF-based startups for our intense 20-week accelerator program that unites design thinking process and early-stage entrepreneurship to build the future of media that matters. Now it’s full steam ahead to our Demo Days, one in each location.

Now that we’re up and running on both coasts, we’re looking to expand our team. We want to bring a full-time NYC Associate on board to run our NYC-based accelerator program alongside Managing Partner Corey Ford and to help us augment our efforts to source, select, and support entrepreneurs building the future of media.

With a bigger Matter team and simpler application process, the dates are now set for the next Matter class. Are you in?

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100 Days of Summer. Well, 99 to be exact. 99 days to accelerate your media start-up from what you think might be a great media venture to one that is actually on the path to becoming a great media venture. That’s the opportunity in front of you.

We’ve built the only place in the world that is set up specifically to help you achieve your dream of building the next great media institution. …


Corey Ford

Managing Director, Matter. Supporting media entrepreneurs building a more informed, empathetic & inclusive society. Design Thinking + Entrepreneurship + Media

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