Our Mission

Founded in 2006, NYDesigns is dedicated to the success of design and hardware tech startups in NYC. Companies in our incubator get three years of private studio space and access to a network of mentors and advisers. Makers can prototype their designs and ideas in our safe, secure, 5,000-sq-ft fabrication lab. We produce events and programs for a thriving community of creators and innovators. We are part of LaGuardia Community College and proudly located in Long Island City, Queens.

Meet the team of NYDesigns

Tristan Bel

Executive Director

Desiree Frieson

Assistant Director

Stephanie Dolan

Operations + Finance Manager

Allie Stambaugh

FabLab Tech

Denise Espinal

Program Assistant

Tamecca Seril

Strategist in Residence

Nobuhiro Seki

Adviser

Mike Lightman

Mike Lightman

Strategist in Residence

Tristan Bel

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Tristan designs and leads the overarching strategy for NYDesigns as well as manages the team in the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Tristan has spearheaded the creation and development of product lines and the building of operations for startups and non-profit organizations in the technology and wellness/sustainability industries for over 12 years. He is recognized for his strong business acumen and for his ability to lead teams to excel consistently in a poised and happy environment.

Tristan has a MEng in Industrial Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Marseille (Grande Ecole), and a MSc in Competitive Intelligence from the Universite de St Jerome.

When he is not helping build the future of entrepreneurship, Tristan dances Argentine tango or treks in remote places.

Desiree Frieson

Assistant Director

As the Assistant Director, Desiree is responsible for creating and leading programming for NYDesigns residents and building out the marketing communication platform.

Prior to joining NYDesigns, she was the Blackstone LaunchPad at NYU Program Manager coaching student entrepreneurs through the lean startup process and matching early stage teams with experienced mentors. She also worked with NeighborWorks America as a Public Affairs and Communications Advisor, helping 83 non-profit affordable housing developers tell their story, and spent several years on marketing communications for tech startups and nonprofit organizations.

Desiree received her MBA in Marketing from Walden University and BA in Media Arts from Wesley College. Originally from Queens and a proud alumna of Cardozo High School, she now calls Brooklyn home and enjoys walking over the Manhattan Bridge frequently.

Stephanie Dolan

Operations + Finance Manager

Stephanie Dolan is responsible for making sure the ships stays right – managing NYDesigns facilities, including the 5,000 sq ft FabLab where residents can work on prototypes, product design, and production. She also manages financial records as well as developing strategies to further NYDesigns long-term goals. She is thrilled to be a part of the team and inspired everyday by the amazing companies in the hustle here at NYDesigns.

Prior to joining NYDesigns, she has spent her career in non-profit management working with entrepreneurs and startups at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and managing economic development programs at the New York City Financial Network Action Consortium, and Urban Upbound.

Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana she loves to cook and eat. When she’s not in the kitchen you can find her somewhere in the outdoors hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, or running.

Denise Espinal

Program Assistant

As Program Assistant, Denise provides administrative support to the NYDesigns team by coordinating projects and facilitating office procedures.

Denise is a native Brooklynite and has worked in the nonprofit community in NYC as an Administrative Assistant and Community Relations Specialist for the last ten years. She received her A.A. in Liberal Arts from Borough of Manhattan Community College.

When she is not supporting the team, Denise enjoys spending her time finding furniture deals on Craigslist and watching documentaries.

Allie Stambaugh

FabLab Manager

Allie is responsible for keeping the FabLab in working order. From member assistance, to training, to machine maintenance she does it all. She also teaches a number of workshops at NY Designs. If you want to learn how to use a machine or a tool Allie is the one to ask.

Prior to joining the team at NY Designs Allie worked in various fabrication fields, most notably in welding and metal fabrication. Since moving to New York she has been involved with various makerspaces around the city and loves to teach others and work on her own art.

When she is not helping people create things or creating things herself she enjoys reading, rock climbing, and can often be found in the kitchen cooking and baking.

Tamecca Seril

Strategist in Residence

Tamecca Seril is an entrepreneur and impact investor.  Tamecca is the CEO of Element9.com a digital think and action tank specializing in civic innovations, including digital platforms for municipal services and engagement. Tamecca is also the Founder of Learning Curve, a STEAMD (STEM + Art & Design) entrepreneurship accelerator and impact investment fund.

From 2012-2014, Tamecca was appointed to serve as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Managing Director of Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford Stuyvesant (“CIBS”), the largest coalition of community development corporations in New York City, providing a lifeline of services ranging from affordable housing, workforce development, health and social services and economic development.

Tamecca is a proud alumna of University of Virginia, School of Architecture and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Nobuhiro Seki

Adviser

Nobuhiro “Nob” Seki is a serial entrepreneur and a seed investor in hardware startups. His investment fund made three seed investments at NYDesigns in 2017. Nob is based in NYC, Tokyo, Japan, and Kyoto, Japan.

In 2015, he founded FabFoundry in NYC, a startup platform that helps hardware startups succeed. The platform offers access to seed investors and manufacturing resources, especially for low-volume production, which many factories do not accept such orders. In partnership with Makers Boot Camp, a Japan-based seed fund with manufacturing resources, FabFoundry represents all the investment activities in the U.S. and Nob serves as Managing Partner.

Nob received an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Carnegie Mellon University and graduated from the University of Tokyo with a BS degree in Engineering.

Mike Lightman

Mike Lightman

Strategist in Residence

Mike Lightman has played the role of entrepreneur, investor, incubator director, and ‘fixer of broken startup programs’ around the world. He has worked with companies that have won Tech Crunch Disrupt, been on Shark Tank, and made millions on Kickstarter.

Mike led teams on diligence at Excell Partners, a hardware focused VC, advised hardware and software companies as the interim director of the Urban Future Lab, and spent time in Shenzhen advising hardware companies with Hax (a $400M hardware accelerator). He is currently juggling a few startups at Moonshot, a startup studio based in Denver. Also, as a board member of the SXSW startup program, he knows what investors look for. Mike also loves practicing sales pitches, market research, hiring and retaining top talent, and finding ways to improve operations.

He lives in Buffalo with his amazing wife and even better puppy.