Meet the Inaugural Cohort of The City Fellowship at Company Ventures

Mia Manantan
Company Ventures
Published in
3 min readFeb 3, 2022

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At Company Ventures, we are fully committed to the future of New York City. Along these lines, we’re thrilled to announce the inaugural cohort of our newest program, The City Fellowship, a collaboration with New York City Economic Development Corporation. The selected fellows are each extraordinary impact entrepreneurs enabling a better future for our city — from childcare solutions and job training to sustainability efforts for historically marginalized NYC communities. Importantly, many members of the fellowship have started their companies and organizations to address issues of economic equity and/or climate action, strongly influenced by their own lived experience in New York City.

The decision to embark on creating The City Fellowship emanates from our belief that the expertise embedded and honed in the venture community can (and should) be made available to a broader audience than who typically gets access. We have designed a program to leverage our expertise, connectivity and other resources to support the goals of each fellow. At its core, the 9-month program will offer the fellows access to our ecosystem and the ability to build and develop connections to venture, government, corporate, and technological resources to achieve the next milestones in their journey. The program specifically centers the experience of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and women entrepreneurs.

We are honored to build this program with the following cohort:

Carefully (Leslie Borrell) is a platform that helps parents connect with people they know and trust to exchange childcare, organize playdates, and plan group events.

EatOkra (Anthony Edwards Jr.) connects 350,000+ foodies to Black-owned restaurants, eateries, and food trucks nationwide and includes a network of leading industry partners looking to amplify your business.

First Tech Fund (Josue De Paz) is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to closing the digital divide by supporting high school students of underserved backgrounds in New York City with technology, practical skills, and opportunities to succeed in the modern world.

Friends of + POOL (Kara Meyer) is working to provide free and safe access to the river for swimming and educate the public on issues that affect our water quality.

Generation Conscious (Greg Genco) is democratizing affordable access to plastic-free, low-carbon alternatives.

Leap Fund (Karen Schoellkopf) offers solutions to identify benefits cliffs, avoid benefits cliffs, and ultimately, eliminate benefits cliffs altogether, all while creating pathways towards self-sufficiency and financial independence. Low-income families face a “benefits cliff,” when public benefits phase down or out faster than income rises, leaving families worse off than before.

Noula Health (Noelle Acosta) empowers birthing parents with key information about their maternal health via an at-home test kit and provides personalized, culturally competent support to help members lead healthy pregnancies, births and beyond.

People’s Choice Communications (Erik Forman and Troy Walcott) is bridging the digital divide and putting the Spectrum strikers back to work through a multi-stakeholder cooperative Internet Service Provider (ISP) model.

REBORN FARMS (Henry Obispo) is an ag-tech company focused on revolutionizing the local food system, centering food sovereignty, economic equity, and climate-forward as its Mission and purpose.

Sector (Amina Yamusa) is a job placements platform designed to support the organizations preparing 120 million global job seekers for new, sustainable careers. Sector currently serves upskilling organizations throughout New York City and is piloting new job search tools through Google, TechNYC and Cornell Tech’s NYC Economic Recovery.

Unlock NYC (Ashley Eberhart and Jessica Valencia) is an all-women tech collective that organizes with low-income and homeless New Yorkers to build accessible mobile technology for recording and reporting discriminatory practices on their housing search.

UPchieve (Aly Murray) is an ed-tech nonprofit that provides free, 24/7 online tutoring and college counseling to low-income high school students in the U.S. To date, UPchieve has helped more than 15,000 students across all 50 states. UPchieve is also a Y Combinator alum (W21) and a grantee of the Gates Foundation.

WeThrive Hub (Daquan Oliver) provides a robust marketplace for local programs and interventions for community participants by providing all-in-one program management software to nonprofits.

Wiggle Room (Jaime-Jin Lewis) builds simple tools to stabilize and grow small, licensed Family Child Care (FCC) businesses as a means of creating economic stability and growth in low-income communities.

We are thrilled about the months ahead and look forward to providing updates on the program to you all. Stay in touch here.

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Mia Manantan
Company Ventures

I believe in a more equitable future for all and am passionate about building fun and interactive communities.