NYCEDC Startup Exchange: My 2 Cents


In early December, I attended the NYCEDC Startup Exchange - a networking event/party/whatchamacallit at the IAC building.

I don’t know how I got on the invite list, but the email said my boy Fred would be there and I assumed there’d be some free food for this starving founder, so I planned to attend.

The event itself was… “eh” and according to this NYConvergence post in which I was quoted recently, I’m not alone.

Sure - put a bunch of vaguely relevant industry people in the same room with some booze and you’re bound to create some interactions that go somewhere. I met one associate VC that may prove to be a useful connection, so +1 there.

But I honestly didn’t understand the point of the event, I didn’t feel as though it showed an understanding of NYC startup culture and I certainly didn’t recognize many of my peers from the NYC startup scene (Not that I want to see the same people all the time, but hell, I learned more at the Hashable 100 Party held earlier that week and it was WAY more fun).

Now, in the wake of the NYConvergence article, I was contacted by a reporter from Crain’s. So before any of this gets spun out of context, or the NYCEDC smites me for criticizing them, I’ll lay it down simply…

NYC is a great community for startups, but it is still nascent. As such, it CAN ALWAYS IMPROVE. Therefore, the NYCEDC would do well to lay the groundwork for solving some of the real problems excellently outlined by Fred here:

1. Creating excellent lines of communication. [If they’re already doing great stuff - as it’s been pointed out to me - then why haven’t I heard about it?]

2. Work from the “bottom up.” Get out on the street and really understand the major issues facing startups. [Big hairy monster - how do we get top talent to join startups instead of Wall Street?]

3. Help NYC get a BIG HIT. [We need a couple homeruns that spawn many other angels/advisors into the community in order to keep this momentum going.]

This list is incomplete, but the point is there is room for improvement and it seems there is a genuine interest on BOTH SIDES - startups and politicians - to help each other, and make NYC a fantastic, enduring destination for innovation.

I’m in. NYCEDC - ping me anytime you want to chat and I know plenty more people with great ideas.

UPDATE:  I just got a great email from David Lombino, EVP of the NYCEDC. In it, he thanked me for my feedback, informed me of a number of the initiatives they have lined up and opened the lines of communication for the future. That’s effing awesome. GO NYC!