NYCEDC's blog

Hanging Out With The Entrepreneur At Large


         Screen shot of Virtual Office Hours with Steve Rosenbaum on October 24

By Kat Lau, Project Manager, Center for Economic Transformation

Steve Rosenbaum, NYCEDC's Entrepreneur at Large (EAL), hosted his latest session of virtual office hours yesterday via Google Hangout. He spent the hour fielding questions and dispensing invaluable advice to representatives from startups PivotDesk, Yellow Dig, Linnovision, Soliday TeleHealth, and Mogul Music Academy. 

Rosenbaum began by talking about the strengths of tech in New York City, including physical proximity to other tech companies. “There’s nothing like sitting across the table from your collaborators,” he noted. “As the world gets noisier, there’s something about personal contact that just makes being in New York so valuable.” He also cited the city’s cultural and economic diversity as huge selling points. “There’s a strong tech scene, but you can also walk down 7th Avenue and run into Fashion Week. There’s so, so much going on here.”

Several startups sought advice on their fundraising strategies. Tyler Soliday of Soliday TeleHealth asked Rosenbaum for advice on what he should include in his pitch deck. "Just be yourself," advised Rosenbaum. “Your deck should match your personality. If there’s a slide that you’re not 100% confident with and 100% believe in, take it out.”

He did not discount the value of advice and mentorship, but warned: “Don’t let other people tell you how you should tell your story. It’s your story. Don’t try and be somebody else.”

Yellow Dig is also in an early fundraising stage, and CEO Shaunak Roy asked for Rosenbaum’s thoughts on how to approach investor meetings. Rosenbaum emphasized the importance of personal connection, saying, “You need to find your peeps. You’re asking your investors to fund you, mentor you, take a risk on you…there has to be something about you or your idea that really connects with them.”

The call revealed the value of virtual office hours, not only in giving attendees access to Rosenbaum’s expertise, but also in networking. When Hao Lin of Linnovision mentioned his issues finding available and affordable office space in the city, Andrew Oved, whose company PivotDesk connects startups looking for space with companies that have too much of it, chimed in. “I’m your guy!” he wrote. “Looks like you guys should talk after this,” said Rosenbaum with a smile.

The EAL’s next virtual office hours will be held on November 7. And even if you’re not able to attend, you can tweet questions for the EAL with #EALOfficeHours.




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