In 2006, I left the corporate world to launch my first startup. At the time, most people thought I was crazy, walking away from a promising career in law and finance to pursue a dream. People more familiar with startups encouraged me to move to Silicon Valley, where venture capital money grew on trees and tech talent congregated in cafes. So I made a few pilgrimages West but ultimately decided to stick it out in NYC and cobble together whatever resources and community I could find. These were the days before accelerators and coworking spaces, when you had to pay the local angel groups just to pitch. Needless to say, running a startup in NYC had its challenges.
Techstars launched its first NYC program in 2011, and in so doing helped to catalyse the local tech ecosystem. I remember meeting David Tisch, the original Managing Director for Techstars New York, and feeling encouraged that the burgeoning tech scene had a new resource that was founder-friendly and fueled by #givefirst.
Fast forward to now, when NYC is well known as a thriving startup ecosystem and the highest performing startup city outside of Silicon Valley. Local startups can now attract world class talent, and they have plentiful access to venture capital, corporate partners, and customers. Techstars has played an important part in the development of the local NYC startup community, having run 23 accelerator programs in the area, helped more than 265 companies #domorefaster, and supported nearly 500 local alumni founders including Plated, Classpass, DigitalOcean, Pilot, Latch, Chainalysis, and many more.
So, what’s next?
Today, I’m pleased to announce that I will be doubling down on my commitment to the NYC tech community as the next Managing Director of Techstars New York, continuing the work and incredible legacy of my long time colleague and friend, Alex Iskold. Having run several Techstars corporate programs including Techstars IoT, Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in NYC, and Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, I’m now excited to focus on the people and institutions that make up this dynamic city.
My goal is to build even deeper ties with local organizations that foster community and promote inclusivity. I cofounded The Fund, a community focused venture fund investing exclusively in New York founders and supported by some of the brightest operators in New York—making me fully convinced that the next wave of great companies will be built here. New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and Techstars is committed to having founders, mentors, partners, and program staff who reflect this mix of people and cultures. Further supporting this mission of inclusion, Techstars continues to deepen relationships with the many universities and civic initiatives that foster innovation. My own experience teaching undergraduates at Columbia University, as well as the Techstars partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad, underscores both my and Techstars dedication to inspiring and encouraging the next generation of young innovators.
New York, I can’t wait to see what we do together next.
New York is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, where the possibilities are endless and the resources plentiful. Techstars New York opens applications on January 7, 2019, and the program kicks off in mid-July. If you want learn more about the program or be involved in building the future of Techstars New York, our doors are open! Please be in touch.