What Is Motivating The New York Times To Help Startups Grow For Free?

The New York Times is the second largest newspaper in the country. It is a prestigious institution with an existence spanning three decades. It is one of the standard bearers of journalism in the U.S., but even that has not stopped it from being affected by the steep decline in revenue that the print industry has suffered from for a number of years.

With an increasing number of people choosing to get their news online these days, which ultimately means less sales of print newspapers from newsstands, the folks at good ol' NYT have had to call on their creative sides to devise ways to augment profit in a non-print friendly climate.

One of the recent ideas the Times has come with is growing startups. With the creation of TimeSpace, a startup incubator that is operated within the famous confines of the publication's Midtown Manhattan tower, the paper has now turned to the progress of news businesses, and the amount of money that can be made off that progress, as a new stream of revenue.  Or, at least, that's the way that one observer has put it.

"It’s goal is to infuse the 162-year-old Times Company, battered, bruised and barely profitable thanks to digital disruption, with some of that sweet innovation nectar startups are known for," said Pando Daily writer Erin Griffith. "In exchange, the startups get access to decision makers, lawyers, and editorial staff at the New York Times, with a little prestige and credibility to boot."

The dynamic of the relationship between the New York Times and TimeSpace, as described by Pando Daily, is fascinating.

While the buzz of a newsroom occurs all around, budding entrepreneurs seem to work to grow their businesses simultaneously.

“We are literally in the belly of The Grey Lady [the NYT building]  just below the cafeteria, said Tarikh Korula, the founder of Mahaya, one of three startups whose development is being accelerated by the Times.

Meanwhile, the startups enjoy a bunch of resources provided by the media outlet, including lawyers and the editorial staff at NYT. The trade off, from the 'Times end, would seem simple at first. Something along the lines of "we give you the resources and space you need to grow, you give us a share of the revenue you earn in the future." But, in an astounding revelation, Griffith says there's no money attached to the deal at all.

"One major difference between TimeSpace and most accelerators is that there’s no money involved," said Griffith. "Even though the Times does have an investment fund, it isn’t backing Mahaya, Delve and OpBandit companies as part of the program."

So what exactly, you may ask, is there for the New York Times to gain from housing these three companies? The answer would seem to be influence. The Times is seemingly using the experience providing the startups with space in hopes that the fast-growing businesses can have a rob off on the traditional slow moving atmosphere of the newsroom.

Meanwhile, the three companies themselves have already taken valuable lessons from just being around the publication. In short, TimeSpace is one big learning experience that allows two parties, both the startups and the accelerator (or, in this case, the New York Times), to feed off each other's energy.

"Housing a few fast-moving startups in the belly of a slow-moving legacy business won’t create automatic success for either entity," said Griffith. "But with its modest first foray into accelerators, both sides are just hoping they rub off a tiny bit on one another."

via Pando Daily, Photo via Social Network