DreamIt chooses Mark Wachen to lead New York accelerator

Union Square New YorkPhiladelphia-based startup accelerator DreamIt Ventures recently announced plans to open an office in New York City. Now it’s revealed who’s going to be running it — entrepreneur and investor Mark Wachen.

Managing partner Kerry Rupp said that DreamIt’s four Philadelphia partners will all be involved in choosing the NYC companies and hope to be in New York at least once a week, but they also knew they needed a full-time presence in the city. Wachen, meanwhile, is a successful entrepreneur (he sold his startup Optimost to Interwoven in 2007 for $52 million), an early-stage investor through Upstage Ventures (he invested in DreamIt alumnus SeatGeek), and a lifelong New Yorker (he said the only time he moved out of the city was to go to college and graduate school).

For his part, Wachen said he’s excited to see the New York startup scene finally taking off, something he attributes to the fact that there’s finally a big pool of startup capital and technical talent. That’s why efforts like DreamIt are crucial to building that momentum.

“It seems like the reality has caught up with the hype,” he said.

Mark WachenThe DreamIt NYC program will run from May to August of this year. Applications are now open, and the incubator said it will accept between 10 and 15 startups, with five being in digital education through a partnership with Startl.

Rupp noted that you don’t have to have a great company idea in order to join — in fact, that’s why the group has tracks for “hackers” and ‘“strategists”, so that great programmers can be paired up with people who know how to build a real business. Location-based startup Scvngr, another famous DreamIt graduate, is one company that’s attributed its early success to that kind of pairing, Rupp said.

[top image via Flickr/Swaminathan]