From Steve Grove of Google News Lab

From Steve Grove of Google News Lab

From the moment I started talking with the team at Matter, I was impressed by their vision to build an independent accelerator focused only on early-stage media startups. There didn’t seem to be anything else quite like it out there. As I joined the group of mentors that Matter brought in to speak with their portfolio companies, I was struck by how they approached that vision: a rigorous design-thinking program, a series of reviews that focused on the various aspects of building a media company, a robust network of mentors, and a “fail fast, learn quickly” culture. All of this resonated with our values at the Google News Lab, and we wanted to do what we could to help.

That’s why we came on board last year as Matter’s first technology partner, providing mentorship to their startups and helping the Matter staff expand to meet the demands of their growing enterprise. And it’s also why I’m excited to announce today that we’re strengthening our partnership with Matter to help them take the next step in their development — expanding to New York City.

I think Matter’s expansion to New York — bringing on seven new startups in their new location at Union Square — is smart for three reasons: location, timing, and coastal connections.

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This is me (on the left) at a mentoring session at Matter, speaking with Ben Yee of The History Project.

First, location. Even though we live in a digital world, where you set up shop matters. New York is such a natural place for Matter to be. Being located in the media capital of the world will provide Matter’s startups with far more opportunities to partner with media companies looking to innovate. It will also offer proximity to the digital transformation taking place in the media industry today. Having access to that information flow will make Matter’s startups sharper, and give Matter a richer perspective on where the media industry is heading.

Second, timing is everything — and now is a great time to be in New York. The startup scene there is growing rapidly, with new accelerators, co-working spaces, and venture firms building a strong ecosystem for innovation. In just the last year, investments from venture capitalists in NYC-based startups have increased by 82%. And established media companies in NYC are embracing the transitions to digital, mobile, and social platforms at an unprecedented pace. At the News Lab, we work with lots of media organizations in New York — and have never felt so much momentum towards innovation as we do today. This is the perfect time for Matter to lay down roots in New York.

But, I’m most excited to see Matter expand to New York for the connections they’ll create between the SF and NYC startup communities. As someone who works at the intersection of technology and media and is based in the Bay Area, I’m constantly reminded of how important it is to have a foot in both Silicon Valley and New York City. At the News Lab, we’ve worked hard to build out our efforts on both coasts, and to share learnings between both worlds. I think Matter will be uniquely positioned to do the same.

As part of our increased investment in Matter, we’ll be providing a stronger pipeline of Google tech talent to help mentor Matter startups. Our New York office in Chelsea is just a few blocks away from Matter’s new location. But we wanted to do more than just that. We wanted to help Matter create a great environment for its New York startups to meet, share ideas, and connect. So we’re building a News Lab Mentorship Lounge at Matter’s new space, intended to foster thoughtful conversations that can help Matter’s startups tackle tough challenges and build bold ideas. This is something we learned about from our friends at Google for Entrepreneurs, who’ve built spaces like this at Tech Hubs around the world.

We started the Google News Lab to help media innovators build the future of journalism through technology. We knew that it wouldn’t be enough to focus on only existing news organizations, because many of the startups of today will become the media companies of tomorrow. In Matter, we’ve found a partner that is devoted to helping those startups grow in a meaningful, lasting way. We couldn’t be more thrilled about Matter’s expansion to the Big Apple. Congratulations to Corey and the entire team at Matter!

To learn more about what we do at the Google News Lab, follow our new Medium publication here.