IncubateNYC: Entrepreneurs Brian Shields and Marcus Mayo Make Entrepreneurship Accessible

IncubateNYC: Entrepreneurs Teaching Entrepreneurs

Incubate NYC founders Marcus Mayo and Brian L. Shields. (Image courtesy of Incubate NYC)
Incubate NYC founders Marcus Mayo and Brian L. Shields. (Image courtesy of Incubate NYC)

There you are staring at the clock again, which seems stuck on 4:56. Where is 5 pm? You want to get home and work on that amazing, never-been-done-before idea you’ve been tinkering with for years but still haven’t gotten around to realizing.

Brian L. Shields and Marcus Mayo, founders of IncubateNYC know your struggles and they can help. Incubate NYC is a resource for budding entrepreneurs who need to learn the ropes of everything from finding mentors to social media strategies  to time management and branding. sat down with the two former Wall Streeters to talk about the ins and outs of being entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs.

How did Incubate NYC start?

Shields: Marcus and I had found some success investing in startups with a group we had formed with a few other guys called In House. We made some good investments and made folks profits. This was just using our nights and weekends. So, in the summer of 2011, Marcus and I really started thinking about how  we could stop working corporate jobs and turn this idea of helping entrepreneurs into a full-time venture. Around that same time, the city issued a request-for-proposal to start an incubator in the city, so we gave it a shot.  We needed the kick in the ass to actually start doing something and not just talk about it. Because of the RFP,  we started getting partners on board like Google, Columbia and all these great law firms.  We got some people to give money. The city has still not awarded that RFP to this day, but we kept moving ahead anyway and created the boot camp that we have available today.

When did you realize that IncubateNYC was actually working?

Once we started getting people to pay us to come to class and programs and stuff, then it was like “Oh, this can actually work? Well let’s try a little more of that.”  I live in a constant state of “I don’t know if this is really working.” It’s something about getting paid and not ever feeling like it’s really working that keeps me going.

Mayo: What we’re trying to do is help people who were just like us who were corporate people who said, “What I really do during the day is not really what I’m excited about. I really want to do this thing that I think about all the time.”  We’re trying to get people to make that transition. We had to unlearn what we had learned before and think like an entrepreneur. When the business works it’s when people are paying you and you’re getting money. When the product works, it’s when you realize people are actually enjoying what you’re offering.