New York has firmly established itself as a serious contender to Boston as East Coast venture king. But to prove the Big Apple's tech surge is truly the result of a fundamental change in its entrepreneurial ethos, startups and VCs must adapt to new economic and investment realities, and show they can build big companies that just might have some real staying power. What are top VCs looking for today to help in this quest, and how have things changed? How are leading NY entrepreneurs facing this challenge? Does the country's ongoing slow economic recovery foretell trouble over the horizon, or somehow open fresh opportunities for both existing companies and new ones?
Join us for this special forum of Founder-Investor stories as we hear from leading investors and entrepreneurs about their views on the NY tech scene, the wider economic landscape, and evolving conditions for building great companies—and their insights for meeting these challenges.
David Karp, founder of Tumblr, was born and raised in New York City, attending the Bronx High School Science before dropping out at age 15. An internship at Frederator Studios led to a gig leading product at UrbanBaby. When CNET acquired the company in 2005, Karp started his own development agency, Davidville. In 2007 his team launched Tumblr, now the home and platform for more than 70 million creators. As a top 15 US network, Tumblr serves an audience of more than 145 million people worldwide.
Bijan Sabet has been a General Partner at Spark Capital since the firm’s inception. He led the investment in Twitter in early 2008 and served on their board from 2008-2011. Bijan also led investments in Tumblr, Stack Exchange, RunKeeper, Foursquare, Boxee, OMGPOP (acquired by Zynga) and thePlatform (acquired by Comcast). Prior to joining Spark, Bijan was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development at GameLogic (acquired by Scientific Games Corp) after serving as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Charles River Ventures (CRV).
Roger Ehrenberg (moderator) is the founder of IA Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on companies that create competitive advantage through data. Prior to forming IA, Roger was on Wall Street as CEO of Deutsche Bank’s internal hedge fund, and an angel investor in 40 companies, including Buddy Media and Bitly.
Warby Parker Story
Neil Blumenthal and three friends launched Warby Parker in February of 2010. Warby Parker is a transformative fashion brand offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses. Neil had been the Director of VisionSpring, a non-profit social enterprise where he was responsible for developing VisionSpring’s award-winning strategy and expanding VisionSpring’s global presence from one to 10 countries. Neil received his BA from Tufts University and his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Joel Cutler is Managing Director and Co-Founder of General Catalyst Partners, investing in both new and existing technology businesses. His areas of special interest include information technology, consumer internet, e-commerce and online travel. Prior to co-founding General Catalyst Partners, Joel co-founded and operated numerous businesses focused on leveraging technology and high standards of customer care for the travel, information services, specialty retail, consumer direct marketing, and payment processing industries.
Everyday Health Story
Ben Wolin is the CEO and co-founder of Everyday Health. Under Ben's leadership, Everyday Health has grown from a start-up in a Brooklyn kitchen to over 500 employees. Now, with more than 20 digital health properties, the company reaches 38 million consumers a month and one-third of all healthcare professionals. Everyday Health’s multi-platform marketing solutions have provided thousands of clients the scale to target health-oriented audiences.
Habib Kairouz is Managing Partner of Rho Capital Partners, Inc., a private equity firm with $1.5 billion under management. Habib is also a General Partner in Rho Ventures, the direct venture capital arm of Rho, focusing on multi-stage investments in information technology, new media, telecommunications, alternative energy and healthcare companies. His current and recent board seats include Bluefly.com, Dashlane, Everyday Health, GetGlue, Intralinks, iVillage, Public Mobile, ReachLocal, Tacoda Networks, Tripod, Verified Person, and Yantra.
With special presentations from:
Brian Cohen, Chairman, New York Angels; CEO and Co-founder, Launch.it
Frederick Cook, Co-founder and CEO, Moveline
Samantha Saturn, Chief Marketing Officer, comiXology
Nate Westheimer, President, NY Tech Meetup
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