Showing posts with label NY Tech Meetup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NY Tech Meetup. Show all posts

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Raising Money For A Tech Startup

Image representing Jeff Bezos as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase
(written for Vishwa Sandesh)

Raising money for a tech startup is a Silicon Valley thing, by now done all over the world. You have a great idea, a basic product, and you go raise money. Jeff Bezos of jotted down his idea on a paper napkin. Based on that he raised money.

Google is a great company. But if you had bought Google shares when it went public at $80 per share, your money would have grown only 10 times when those shares hit $800. That is great but not mind boggling amazing.

Probably the best investment of any is coming into the first round of a tech startup that is going to be wildly successful. The first person to put in $100,000 into Google saw that money become a billion and a half in about eight years. The first person to put $500,000 into Facebook saw that money become two billion in six years.

But there are many more mid-level successes that don’t make it to the mainstream press. Numerous tech companies get bought out at valuations ranging from 10 million to a billion dollars. And then there are tech companies that churn out revenues month after month many small businesses don’t manage to.

New York City by now is number two after San Francisco on the tech scene. Used to be Boston, not anymore, although it was great for me to get to meet Rudra Pandey in person this past Friday in his office. Pandey is the richest Nepali in North America. I felt like he was just getting started. Sitting across a table from him feels like sitting next to a bullet train. He is all ready to go. Before Pandey the honor of being the richest Nepali in North America went to Aditya Jha out of Toronto who shares the same home district in Nepal as me: Mahottari. Jha also got his money through the sale of a software firm.

The big companies like Google and Facebook and Apple might all be in the traditional Silicon Valley closer to San Jose, but the center of gravity moved to San Francisco years ago, apparently the pull of the urban lifestyle was too great.

So if you could build a Stanford on Roosevelt Island, as is in the works, there is no way San Francisco could beat New York City on the urban thing. To borrow a phrase from Saddam Hussein who would talk in terms of “the mother of all battles,” NYC is the mother of all things urban. And guess where the biggest venture capital firms in Silicon Valley raise their money from! From the pension funds in New York!

New York City has a decent movie industry and a decent tech scene. But the tech scene is all set to ramp up, although the top venture capitalist in NYC, Fred Wilson, likes to say the city is “decades” behind Silicon Valley in terms of the tech ecosystem thing.

But depends on what it is you are trying to do. If your app is people centric, if your app is big city centric, NYC just might be the place.

Software is going to play a big role in Nepal’s economic transformation, no doubt, and that is why fund-raising in the Nepali community is important. You are trying to contribute to the culture. The thought has to percolate.

Long Island City could be a great place for office space. Several trains stop there. It is right next to Roosevelt Island, where the tech university will be located. It is not in Manhattan, so the rent is cheaper. But it is right next to Manhattan, sure has the Manhattan view. And it is but 10 minutes on the train to Jackson Heights, where all the Desi food is.

Fundraising is about the sense of possibility, of what could happen. A tech startup is of a different magnitude than tech consulting. With tech consulting you are building stuff for other people, for your clients. Often times the project can be small. With a tech startup you are creating wealth.

I remember when FourSquare presented for the first time on stage at the NY Tech MeetUp. I did not “get it.” I thought the check in thing was the weirdest thing. But a few months later I got it, I got it why it was the next Twitter. I got to know the founders of Venmo a few years ago before they had raised any money. Well, they sold the company last year for $26 million. Rumor has it FourSquare’s Indian Co-Founder Naveen walked away with 80 million dollars.

The city’s tech ecosystem sure is building up.

I once met this guy who had sold his company to Google for a billion and a half. When it was my turn to shake his hand, I asked him a question. I said, you got money, why are you still raising money from VCs for your next startup? He said, two reasons. One, VCs giving money is market validation that maybe my idea is a good one. Two, VCs bring way more than money to the table. They bring their knowledge, their contacts.

One hopes the new crowd-funding possibilities will open up the field a bit. But there is no beating the first round, also known as the friends and family round. That is informal. And the founder can bring in anyone. In future rounds, that luxury is no more. Only licensed investors come in.
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Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Best NYTM After Party Ever

I have been to numerous NY Tech MeetUps over the years. Biggies like Tumblr and FourSquare have all demoed at the NYTM. I don't remember Tumblr's presentation though. Maybe that was a MeetUp I missed. (Dennis Crowley: I Underestimated Him, Dennis Crowley: Role Model For Kids?)

I started going to the NYTM when it was six people at a bar on the Lower East Side, one of them the CEO. And that was only a few years ago.

I have said several times at this blog that Digital Dumbo beats the NYTM after party. No more. Not after last night. (Digital Dumbo 18: The Dumbo Loft)

What made the difference?

It was not at a bar. It was in the same building. You left the hall and you went upstairs. When people have to walk three blocks to the after party, many of them leave.

The space was huge.

Free drinks, free food. Worth seeking out sponsors.

And that was pretty much it.

I think the NYTM should stick to this venue forever.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Alexis Ohanian: Angel Investor

I read somewhere you had to pick between the panels, two out of four allowed. So I showed up early for registration. Ends up you did not have to pick. So I went to all four. Well, there was a Seth Godin speech to begin with. I did that. And Chris Dixon spoke after the panels were over. And there was the social/networking part to cap it all. All in all it was a half day affair. It was a few trips between floors one and five for me. I got to take in half of each panel.

Startups And The Art Of Selling
Monetizing A Startup
Venture Capitalists And Their Thesis
Patrick Chen's Entrepreneur Exchange Summit
Idea to Initial Execution
March 25: Stern: Entrepreneurs Exchange Summit

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

After Party

I have missed three NY Tech MeetUps in a row. That is uncharacteristic of someone who used to show up when the NY Tech MeetUp was half a dozen people at a Lower East Side bar. But I missed. And livestreaming does not work for me, I never really went that route. So I showed up for the after party last night: 218 Sullivan. No presentations, and no beer, I decided, and it was such great fun. I worked the room like a politician.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A NY Tech MeetUp For Sindre Aarsaether

Sindre, if you don't know him, is one uber hacker. He is a geek, a nerd. He is Singularity. He is a friend. He is a foreigner. He is Scandinavian. He has a friend who likes to go couchsurfing.

Welcome, Sindre, back to New York. I will see you tonight.

And there is a fresh email from Brandon Diamond.
* Betterfly: connect with betterists to improve yourself
* HotPotato: share what you're doing with friends
* Learnvest: educational finance resource for women
* Frontal: rich web apps from simple markup
* StuffBuff: auctions anywhere you want them
* HowAboutWe: pick your perfect date then find a match
* Jetsetter: insider access to the places you want to go
* Comixology: read comics on the go and on the web

We'll also be hearing from Clay Shirky who'll be discussing "generosity as a design problem".
Plus, the entire evening will be guest emceed by the wonderful Dina Kaplan, co-founder of

So come on down to NYU Skirball at 7 PM for another evening with NYC's brightest movers and shakers.

Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
New York University
566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South) / 212.992.8484
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Scott Contrarian Heiferman Does It Again

Scott HeifermanImage by jdlasica via Flickr
Scott blew it last night at the NY Tech MeetUp. There were some great demos for sure including one with a HTML 5 inkling: Thumbplay. And it was great to see Tikva Morawati's up there. I told her last night I will be at Ignite NYC tonight, but I can't be: something came up that will have me tied to 10 PM. Nate showed up in formal attire last night: that was a letdown for me personally. His trademark jeans and shirt with the cut on the sides, the curve cuts look better, I think. But I am all for trying out new looks. Iterate.

So Scott Heiferman smashed Dawn Barber's iPad with a sledgehammer. I ran into Dawn later.

"Are you guys still friends?" I asked her.

Scott was offering the 2010 version of that famous 1984 ad, of course.

Scott presented MeetUp Everywhere.

And then he introduced guy. Ends up that site did not take off. So they launched a side project that did take off: GroupOn.

"I started out wanting to change the world," he lamented." And I have been reduced to dealing with coupons."

Most startups fail, but the trick is to rise from the ashes.

At one point Scott called "a stupid blog." Then he whispered, "I should not say that. He is one of my investors."

The Highlight Of My Internet Week
Not MeetUp
Women In Tech-Media Event At JP Morgan: Internet Week
Meeting Fred Wilson In Person
Internet Week: Going To Three Events So Far
The Biggest NY Tech MeetUp Ever?
Social Media Week: The Best NY Tech MeetUp Ever
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Friday, June 04, 2010

Internet Week: Going To Three Events So Far

Official Portrait of President Ronald ReaganImage via Wikipedia
I signed up for the NY Tech MeetUp after Nate's blast email. I missed out the last NY Tech MeetUp, the one in May.

The Biggest NY Tech MeetUp Ever?

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
566 Laguardia Place
New York, NY 10012

A few minutes back I got an email from Neha Chauhan. She hosted the best panel of all events I went to during Social Media Week. And there is also that ethnic pride thing. So I signed up for the Women In Tech Media Conference. That is Monday evening.

Monday, June 07, 2010 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (ET)
277 Park Avenue
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10172

Reshma 2010, Square, And Pro.Act.Ly
Social Media Week: The Best NY Tech MeetUp Ever

Email marketing works.

So far I have resisted the Ignite event. The pull is strong, I must admit.

I signed up for the World Cup party. Okay, I don't need convincing there.

Saturday, June 12, 2010 from 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM (ET)
The Parlour Bar
250 West 86th Street (at Broadway)
New York, NY 10024

"A tree is a tree, how many do you need to look at?"
- Ronald Reagan

A party is a party, how many do you need to go to?
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

April 2010 NY Tech MeetUp

HackNY Segment
Dropioke: Easily set up and share gatherings or "hangs". (,
Aviary Tennis: Add props to images and swap with friends. (
Foursquare Candidates: Search Twitter for music. (

Student Segment
CabSense: Find the best corner to hail a cab. (
Where do you go?
: Heat map of where you've been. (
Project Noah
: Collaborative field guide. (
: Easily set up and share gatherings or "hangs". (

5-minute Demos Personalized content aggregator. (
BantamLive: Social CRM for your business. (
Whistlebox: Augmented reality children's games. (,
ThinkTank: Ask your social graph questions; connect with the issues that matter. (

2010 Entrepreneur's Census: Measuring the entrepreneurial landscape in Boston, New York and Silicon Valley. (
Why 2K?: Petitioning the senseless $2,000 fee hurting entrepreneurs in NY. (
Wikimania: Help bring Wikimania to NYC! (

Game-based Marketing by Gabe Zichermann: Inspire customer loyalty through rewards, challenges, and contests. (

Monday, March 15, 2010

AnyClip Is Live Now

Sex scene from A Boy and His Dog

I just received an email: is now live. Nate (@innonate) and his team must be proud. A lot of people know Nate as the guy who runs the NY Tech MeetUp. But he is at heart an entrepreneur with one foot clearly in the venture capital world. The NY Tech MeetUp podium just helps him dig deep into those two worlds. What I personally find most appealing about him is his strong belief that New York City can make it on the tech map of the world. (The State Of New York Technology) It also helps that we are both hard core Barack people. (Reshma For Congress)

I enjoy movies. I like watching clips from here and there. This site looks custom made for someone like me. I hope they keep adding movies to their database.

I have been pushing for Morgan Grice to be part of the AnyClip team. I think she has watched every movie made in the past 50 years, and she was Editorial Chair of The Harvard Crimson. She is not a coder, but AnyClip has plenty of those. I doubt she is outmatched in movie passion by anyone currently on the AnyClip team.

The site is in beta. It will go through a few iterations. A welcome jack up in traffic is going to create obvious server issues, for one.

One strong point AnyClip has is this is not a startup hoping to monetize at some future date. It is already closely integrated with Netflix and Amazon. It is a good idea to have a business model from day one.

Nate, my man, you are going places.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NY Tech MeetUp: Europe Edition

Image representing Meetup as depicted in Crunc...
The NY Tech MeetUp continues to be my favorite MeetUp in town, and the go-to event every month. When I first showed up in town years ago, I was signing up for MeetUps left and right, then I whittled it all down to one MeetUp, the NY Tech MeetUp. By now I have signed up for a few more. But I am not a regular at the few that I have signed up for. The NY Tech MeetUp is it.

And tonight they got something called The European Edition. I am looking forward to it.

Special NY Tech Meetup: The European Edition
1. From London, UK, Advertag - Tag-based search technology for classifieds and image search
2. From Bucharest, Romania & London, UK, Brainient - Helping video publishers monetize video content by adding interactive elements and affiliate marketing
3. From Warsaw, Poland & London, UK, Codility - Automated testing of programmers via the Web, saving employers and recruiters both time and money
4. From Tallin, Estonia, Erply - Comprehensive CRM, accounting, billing and inventory management for SMEs
5. From London, UK, Kukunu - A social travel planning platform to build and organize your holiday, because travel is better when you plan it yourself
6. From Paris, France, Kwaga - Makes your inbox easier to manage by intelligently screening and organising your emails
7. From Cambridge, UK, Patients Know Best - Patient-controlled medical records. First customers include the UK's largest private health care provider, and the UK's largest children's hospital
8. From Vienna, Austria, Platago - Helping game developers to publish their games on social networks
9. From Amman, Jordan, Talasim - The Comedy Channel of the Middle East, providing a space for self-expression and sharing humour
10. From Belgium, Wondergraphs - Social business analysis that saves organizations time and money with easy to use exploration, sharing and context aware search
11. From Israel, YubiTech - Enabling mobilization of Desktop application to cross-mobile platform, in a fraction of cost and time, bringing best user experience to the mobile users
12. From Zagreb, Croatia, Shoutem - Enables you to create your own microblogging community for your business or brand
The lineup for the January 4 event was along these lines.
SpeakerText - Living the NYC startup dream!
BlazeTrak - Are you star material? Find out!
UDorse - This NY Tech Meetup is brought to you by...
Artlog - This is NYC, and 2010 brings us our first art/tech startup?
1 min/NY Tech Minute pitches from:
Taxi Hack
The after party was at the Black Door on 26th between 6th & 7th Aves. Bumped into the Hootsuite guy @quikness at the after party. And got to meet the LaunchCloud (a Crunchies finalist) @mikomercer. I just found out she is now Mayor some place as of recent. And to think I did my very first FourSquare check in last night at the Blue Note Jazz. (Jazz) It was a sold out event. I showed up early to get the bar option. Alex showed up for the 8 PM show. Tommaso showed up for the 10:30 PM show with two of his Italian friends. We ended up being five people. Around midnight we crossed the street and went to the bar there, "to wake up a little," as Tommaso put it: I thoroughly enjoyed the jazz. There was some noisy music in the basement. Alex and I stayed. The others left soon.

Alex is going to be at the MeetUp headquarters this evening for the European edition.

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