May 2020: Job opening, cause for hope, and virtual events that elevate women & empower your mind

NYC Media Lab
6 min readMay 12, 2020


May 2020: Job opening, cause for hope, and virtual events that elevate women & empower your mind

Each month, we pause for a moment to review where we’ve been and where we’re going — and we share those thoughts with you.

The past four weeks have been a whirlwind here at NYC Media Lab. The shift to virtual has been remarkably easy in some ways — we’re digital people used to working on shared platforms — but also hard, as we’ve learned in visceral ways that our connection with people and places can’t be replaced by screens.

So this month we celebrate our startups, students, and corporate partners. If you haven’t already, take a moment to watch our first Virtual Open House with the NYTimes Spatial Computing Challenge teams. We pushed to go beyond Zoom to take you inside our home at 370 Jay Street.

There are challenges ahead and we’re here to face them and work with you to solve them. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if the NYC Media Lab team can support you and your efforts in any way.

Steve Rosenbaum
Managing Director, NYC Media Lab NEW & NOTEWORTHY JOB OPENING: Associate Director, 5G EdTech Challenge

The Associate Director will provide leadership and strategic direction for NYC Media Lab in its execution of the Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge program by co-designing and developing a new 5G curriculum, which will require synthesizing and consolidating curricula developed by EdTech Challenge teams. Apply here.

MUST-READ: Cause for Hope Amid NYC Startups

An excerpt from NYCML Managing Director Steve Rosenbaum’s inspiring op-ed in the NY Daily News:

When 60 companies applied to join a startup accelerator just four months ago, they were already ahead of the curve. In the best of times, startups are hard. Very hard. They require a generous helping of grit and determination, combined with the ability to take in coaching, criticism, and often crushing defeat.

When I asked one of our founders a few months later what he did to get ready before every pitch, he said — without a bit of irony: “I punch myself in the face.” To be fair, he’s a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter who is building a startup to keep senior citizens healthy through remote physical therapy.

For most startups, being punched in the face isn’t an option, but it is in many ways the emotional equivalent. We interviewed those 60 companies for the NYC Media Lab startup accelerator program, known as The Combine. Seven made it in, and in early January they began a 12-week program.

Some will succeed, some will pivot, some will fail. That’s how things go in the world of startups. But they’re in New York because of what is hard-wired into our city. And that’s what makes this moment — and its challenges — strangely ideal for innovation.

Read the full op-ed here.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Universal Music Group’s Innovation Challenge UMG is now accepting submissions for an online innovation challenge on leading crowd sourcing platform, Mindsumo. The goal of this challenge is to design applications that bring artists and fans closer together in the COVID-19 crisis with the desired end products being mockups, decks, and wireframes.

We’re looking for new and innovative concepts not yet available on the market and encourage you to stay away from submitting ideas that focus on technologies already available (i.e. livestreaming) on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, etc.

The top 3 winners will qualify for a total prize pool of $4,800! To learn more about the challenge and to apply, visit the UMG Challenge page on Mindsumo. COMING SOON: Summer 2020 ASCAP Music & Design Challenge

We’re looking forward to our summer 2020 ASCAP Music & Design Challenge, where graduate student teams will work closely with mentors and partners from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) to develop, build, and test prototypes that might unlock new ways we create and experience music.

How might we reimagine the keyboard in new digital mediums? How will emerging tech open new pathways for collaborative composition? How can we experience music through an accessibility lens? We hope to answer these questions and many more when this music and design challenge kicks off. Stay tuned!


Our Spring Open House has gone virtual! Over the next few weeks, we’ll highlight the innovative 2020 programs we’ve been developing with our amazing member companies. To kick things off, we welcome the NYTimes team who will walk you through our “Spatial Computing for News Challenge.”

Watch the first episode here and keep an eye out for episode two featuring teams from our “Verizon 5G Retail Ventures Challenge.” DSSelevate Virtual Web Series

According to research from executive recruiting firm Burtch Works, 85% of data scientists and 74% of predictive analytics professionals are male. By either metric, less than 30% of roles are filled by women.

Data Science Salon Elevate is a unique female-focused virtual conference which brings together specialists to educate each other, illuminate best practices, and innovate new solutions. Learn as female thought leaders share their wisdom and experience in their chosen field. Register for June-August virtual events here.

MINDFUL MAY: Empower Your Mind With This Curated Virtual Event Series May is National Meditation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month — all the more reason to check out Mindful May, Aduri’s curated virtual event series designed to explore topics that empower your mind. Sign up here for donation-based online events like “Mask + Meditate” and “The Beauty of Deep Sleep.”

Founded by NYCML 2018 Combine alum Jesal Trivedi, Aduri is the creator behind Cushion, a connected meditation system that guides breathing and focus to help aspiring meditators reap the benefits of consistent, long-term practice. THE NEW NORMAL: Term Sheets in a Recessionary Environment

How does the current economic climate impact your startup’s ability to fundraise? Join the NYU Data Future Lab and Orrick at their free webinar “Term Sheets in a Recessionary Environment” on Wednesday, May 13th at 12pm EST to learn how investment terms now may differ from previous rounds, how quickly rounds might close, and how to best strategize a fundraise in a recessionary environment. Register here.


We’ve expanded our social media presence. Follow our new pages on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


We also publish three newsletters. Our monthly newsletter reaches 16,000+ students, faculty, startups, and industry leaders and our DataDownload newsletter reaches 4,000+. Our new Innovation Monitor newsletter reaches 700+ industry leaders and executives. Subscribe here.

Interested in our funded open calls? Join our SMS list to receive text messages when new open calls are available.

NYC Media Lab connects media and technology companies with NYC’s universities to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent development. Visit our website or contact us at with any questions, comments, or tips.

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NYC Media Lab

NYC Media Lab connects university researchers and NYC’s media tech companies to create a new community of digital media & tech innovators in New York City.