NYCEDC at SXSW: A Report
Story and photos by Betsy Scherzer, Project Manager - Media and Emerging Technologies
This year, NYCEDC headed to Austin for the king of all interactive media rodeos, South by Southwest (SXSW). On Sunday, March 11th, we reveled in NYC’s eclectic startups at the Made in NY: Austin party, sponsored by the NY Tech Meetup, Gust, and several other NYC tech companies. On Monday, March 12th, our Silicon Alley: Startup Ecosystem That Never Sleeps panel spread the word about NYC’s exciting tech startups, talent, and government resources. Read on for our event recaps.
Silicon Alley: Startup Ecosystem That Never Sleeps
NYCEDC’s top entrepreneur panelists and our very own Kristy Sundjaja as moderator discussed the evolution of NYC’s diverse tech sector:
- Barry Silbert, Founder and CEO, SecondMarket
- David S. Kidder, Co-Founder and CEO, Clickable
- Divya Gugnani, CEO, Send the Trend
- Liz Crawford, CTO, Birchbox
- Kristy Sundjaja, Senior Director, Center for Economic Transformation, NYCEDC
New York City's “Entrepreneur-in-Chief” Mayor Bloomberg appeared via video to welcome attendees and tee up discussion of NYC’s booming innovation hub and game-changing government investments, such as the Applied Sciences NYC campus.
Lively discussion ensued as panelists fielded queries about NYC’s rapid startup growth over the past few years; tech talent recruiting challenges; Wall Street and Madison Ave influences; strong, growing ranks of successful female entrepreneurs; angel/VC investing and mentorship; top startup opportunities and barriers; tight-knit tech community and unique startup culture; unparalleled energy and amenities; and forecasted future over the next decade.
While panelists remain optimistic and were quick to offer helpful entrepreneurial advice, they pointed out that New York City’s tech ecosystem is still learning and maturing, with room to grow its advisory and investment network and hopefully, achieve big exits to come. But everyone agreed ambitious entrepreneurs should come be a part of it all in New York, New York. After all, NYC’s countless exciting tech startups, meetups, hackathons, panels, and parties are just like SXSW, only 24/7, year round.
Made in NY: Austin
For six magical hours, Austin’s Cedar Door transformed into NYC’s Big Apple. NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne (pictured above left) opened the event on behalf of @MikeBloomberg, New York City’s mayor (in real life and on Foursquare), declaring March 9th to 13th MAKE IT IN NYC WEEK. The pun-filled proclamation praised NYC’s growing tech scene and encouraged entrepreneurs to Make it Here:
“We are where Foursquare check-ins every day. We are where Tumblr does its tumbling. GILT Group has had its designs set on NYC from the very start. Seamless has always loved what we’re cooking up… For all you enterprising entrepreneurs and start-ups at SXSW, listen up: come to the five boroughs if you want your business to be based in the most exciting and dynamic city in the world.”
Following the proclamation, tireless tech champion Jessica Lawrence, NY Tech Meetup’s Managing Director (pictured above right), warmly welcomed attendees and the party really got down to business. Leading NYC startups showed off their hot products and brands, while partygoers downed hotdogs and baked pretzels.
- Lucky ladies discovered free Birchbox samples in the hot pink bathroom
- Etsy taught partygoers to sew Code as Craft pocket squares
- Shapeways displayed its 3-D printed wares, including creative custom iPhone cases created in collaboration with SoundCloud
- Tattly inked NYC pride with temporary “Made in NY” tattoos
- Market Publique, Quincy, and Warby Parker provided perfect props for the Bosco photo booth
- Pixable streamed photos of partygoers, while BioDigital beamed what lies beneath the surface with its illuminating 3-D models of human anatomy
- General Assembly crowdsourced Post-It sized entrepreneurial advice to encourage people to Stop Talking and Start Making
- Shelby.TV handed out free GOAT-tees, to promote its stealth SXSW G.O.A.T operations
- Gust and Sidetour helped arrange mentoring and pitching sessions with leading NYC angels and entrepreneurs
- Delicious drinks flowed from Brooklyn Brewery, Lot18, Grady’s Cold Brew, and Royal Rose
Finally, yellow cabs, kicking DJ sets, and lengthy, velvet-roped entrance lines reminded everyone of home.