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Secrets to Digital Success in Big Apple

New York Technology Council

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

Secrets to Digital Success in Big Apple

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Attendee Ended $20.00 $2.09

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Event Details

The rapid development of the City`s startup scene started making big news towards the end of last year. Startups are reported to be choosing NYC over Silicon Valley, depending on the industry. And Mayor Bloomberg campaigned for and won a new graduate school of engineering to be built on Roosevelt Island. Meanwhile, in the background, earlier NYC startups have been steadily maturing and achieving notable success.

In this first of a series of panel discussions co-organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC and the New York Technology Council, the focus will be on successful media companies that headquarter in NYC. Some use technology to deliver services in new ways as opposed to their chip-making Silicon Valley counterparts. Others are noteworthy for successfully publishing content in traditional print media while also innovating in digital media.

Among the issues we will discuss:

  • What need did the founder set out to address?
  • What caused early pivots?
  • How did their business models evolve?
  • What obstacles did they overcome? How?
  • What insights can their founders share?
  • In what ways did they benefit by being in NYC?


Owen Davis, Managing Director, NYC Seed

Owen is currently Managing Director of NYC Seed, a seed stage venture capital fund in New York City. Owen has worked in all aspects of the online world, including work with early versions of AOL and MSN. He created one of the first 200 web sites on-line and founded Thinking Media in the summer of 1995, an online marketing firm which pioneered client-side tracking of pages and advertisements, which has become the standard method for online measurement. He co-founded Sonata in 1999, a wireless company that provided location-based services and marketing to cell phones. Owen also co-founded, Petal Computing, a firm that developed software which allowed large numbers of commodity PCs to act like a single unit, useful in industries ranging from image rendering to pharmaceuticals.

Owen is the author of various patents in Internet methods and technologies. He is also the author of the book Instant Java Applets, available from Ziff-Davis Press. He is an original member of the World Wide Web Artists Consortium, and served on that group's original board. He was also an original member of the Board setting online advertising and media specifications and has served as Managing Director of the Wireless Advertising Association. Owen was named various times as one of the 100 Top Internet Executives in New York by The Silicon Alley Reporter and most recently was named one of the 100 most influential people in Silicon Alley for 2008. He received his bachelor's degree from Brown University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.


Rafat Ali, CEO & Founder, Skift

Rafat Ali is the CEO/founder of Skift, an early-stage travel intelligence startup that offers news, insight, advice, tools and services to the travel industry and business travelers.

Previously, he was the founder/CEO of paidContent, an online media hub that covers news, information and analysis of the business of digital media, which he founded in 2002. He was also founder/CEO of ContentNext, an umbrella company that operates multiple media properties, including paidContent. He sold both to UK`s Guardian News and Media in 2008, and left in 2010. Prior to that, he was managing editor of Silicon Alley Reporter.

Rafat was the Knight Fellow at Indiana University, where he completed his Masters in Journalism, 1999-2000. Prior to that he completed his BSc in Computer Engineering, from AMU in Aligarh, India.

Professional Affiliations/Disclosures: Board member, International Women`s Media Foundation. Board member, Asia Society`s Digital Media Advisory Board. Board of Advisors: GigaOmni Media, parent of Gigaom Network. Judge, Gerald Loeb Awards, organized by UCLA Anderson School of Management.

L.Gordon Crovitz, Senior Global Chief Executive, Co-Founder of Press+

Gordon Crovitz is an American media executive and advisor to media and technology companies. He is a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal who also served as executive vice-president of Dow Jones and launched the company`s Consumer Media Group, which under his leadership integrated the global print, online, digital, TV and other editions of The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch.com and Barron`s across news, advertising, marketing and other functions. He stepped down from those positions in December 2007, when News Corp. completed its acquisition of Dow Jones. He writes a weekly column in The Wall Street Journal, titled "Information Age.

Crovitz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago. He received a law degree as a Rhodes Scholar from Wadham College of Oxford University and later a law degree from Yale Law School.

In 1981, he started working as an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal. The following year he became the founding editorial page editor for The Wall Street Journal Europe, based in Brussels. In 1986 he was appointed to The Wall Street Journal`s editorial board. In 1992 he became the publisher for the Dow Jones`s Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong and in 1996 was named the managing director for Dow Jones Telerate`s Asia/Pacific region as well as chairman of Dow Jones in Asia. In 1997-98 he was named vice president of planning and development for Dow Jones.

Since leaving Dow Jones, he has co-founded and sold a start-up technology company and has become a director and advisor to several companies, including technology-based media companies. He is a co-founder of Journalism Online, whose Press+ service enables news publishers to generate subscription revenues for their content on web sites and through tablets, e-readers and mobile devices. Journalism Online, founded in 2009, was sold to RR Donnelley in 2011 for a reported $45 million. Google had launched a product in 2011 to compete with Press+, called Google One Pass, but shut the service down in April, 2012, with Press+ agreeing to grandfather its former customers.

He is a member of the board of directors of ProQuest, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Blurb and Business Insider. In addition, he is on the board of advisors of several early-stage companies, including SocialMedian (sold to XING), Hashable, Halogen Media, YouNoodle, Quid, Peer39, SkyGrid and ExpertCEO. He is an investor in Betaworks, a New York incubator for social-media startups. He has also advised private equity firms on the acquisition of information and media companies. He has been named to the Silicon Alley 100.

While at Dow Jones, he led the redesign of The Wall Street Journal in January 2007.

Rufus Griscom, Co-Founder, Babble

Rufus Griscom is the Vice President / General Manager of Babble.com, a website for a new generation of parents, owned by the Walt Disney Company. Rufus co-founded Babble with his wife, Alisa Volkman, in 2006, raised venture capital funding, grew Babble into one of the leading websites for parents, and sold the property to Disney in November, 2011. Babble traffic has doubled in the six months since it was acquired, and the site continues to innovate, living up to it’s billing by the American Society of Magazine editors as “a website that has revolutionized the parenting field.”

Rufus got his start online when he co-founded Nerve.

Have questions about Secrets to Digital Success in Big Apple? Contact New York Technology Council

When & Where

Chadbourne & Parke LLP
30 Rockefeller Plaza

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

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New York Technology Council

The NEW YORK TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL (NYTECH) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization comprised of individuals and companies who share a common interest in addressing challenges and opportunities for technology in New York.

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