I was curious about how the Daily News Innovation Lab worked so I went to their Meetup session earlier this week at the downtown WeWork Labs to learn more. Before I dive into their process, I’d like to acknowledge the movement of already established companies reaching out to and pairing up with startups in exchange for resources whether through venture or incubation. For example, the SwitchPitch event that happened in NY earlier this month had large companies present their projects to an audience of startups, and startups who attend have an opportunity to “bid” on projects in which they’re interested in. Participating companies include Microsoft, Fox, HBO, Time Inc, Daily News, etc. There were an estimated 500K worth of funded projects pitched at this past October event. The NYSE Euronext (NYX) launched The Big StartUp in March of 2012, a jobs-growth initiative to connect young companies with corporate America, in partnership with Accion, Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and The Startup America. Along with the Big StartUp initiative, NYSE Euronext started the Accion NYSE Job Growth Fund with an initial commitment of $1.5 million as a microfinance program for startups and small businesses.
At the Daily News event, Managing Director Cyna Alderman says the Innovation Lab is seeking 2 early stage or seed fund startups for its 6 month program to fulfill 3 direct development projects. In return, The Daily news will provide access to their digital properties and national audience for startups to develop and test products. Startups will gather direct user feedback, collaborate with newsroom editors, and receive up to $25K seed funding in the form of a convertible note. The Daily News will take 5% equity. The 3 projects are:
1. Intuitive Interactive: To develop a data visualization tool to process and display the huge amounts of photos and videos ingested everyday. Help The Daily News enter the next frontier of interactive data journalism. The tool must be user-friendly, no coding for editors, and turn data sets into interactive visual experiences.
2. Predictive Intelligence: 250 articles are produced every day on the Daily News sites along with photos and videos. Editors need help identifying which pieces of content should be selected for promotion. They would like to have a predictive tool to determine and alert editors what has the potential to blow up, predict trending topics, and automate data pulls to receive early signals of big stories.
3. Elevate Community: The goal is to create more meaningful conversations with audiences and elevate quality of reader contributions by highlighting key voices and good conversations from users on all digital platforms. The Daily News outlined a 6 step community process: locate, engage, incentivize, converse, reward, repeat. They want the digital platforms to be a two-way experience, not just them publishing content.