The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to NYC Tech

NextView Ventures, a seed-stage VC firm with offices in Boston and New York, just launched the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to New York City Tech” intended to equip anyone interested in the New York City startup ecosystem with an information arsenal to help plot his or her own journey.

This guide makes New York’s technology ecosystem transparent and accessible – to newcomers and transplants as much as to local tech experts. The guide is broken down into sections, including: Arrive, Learn, Meet, Explore, Work, and Raise.

Within the “Explore” section, Social Media Week NYC is one of the featured events and conferences in the guide! We’re proud to be a part of such an impressive list of NYC industry groups, companies, individuals, and organizations. Thanks to the Nextview team for the shout-out.

ultimate nyc tech guide

EVENT SPOTLIGHT: How To Make Your Event Seem As Awesome Online As It Does IRL

Social media can make or break your event with fans, attendees, and audience members sharing their thoughts and experiences online and amongst friends.

Splash, the experience marketing software that maximizes event impact – before, during, and after, joins Social Media Week New York to explore how event organizers and experiential professionals can turn their next event into social media gold.

Click here to register for SMW New York, and hear from Splash’s Co-Founder and “Party Scientist” Ben Hindman, who will cover everything from how to create “Instagrammable moments,” to how to design an irresistible invitation.

Ben is an events planner-turned-tech entrepreneur who prizes people skills above all else, and has conceptualized and developed several successful companies—all of which revolve around the collective power of shared experiences.

As CEO and Founder of Splash, Ben works alongside technologists, designers, marketers, and party planners to make sense of the events industry by anticipating trends, identifying unspoken user needs, and finding the next great laser light. In 2015 alone, his venture-backed software has powered 500,000+ events for brands ranging from Red Bull to the Pope.

This session, “How To Make Your Event Seem As Awesome Online As It Does IRL” takes place Friday, February 26 at 3:00PM at The SVA Theatre (EDU Stage).

Image Credit: Mashable Studios

Prepare Your Startup To Scale Up With These 6 #SMWNYC Sessions

6 Events to Help Scale Your Startup

By Social Media Week.


With keynotes speaking on everything from innovation to capital, the following events are designed for entrepreneurs who are looking to gain insights on successfully scaling their startups.

  • The Digital Economy

    By Social Media Week.

    Don Tapscott, author of “The Digital Economy,” will reflect on the last 20 years of the digital age and will examine how networked intelligence destroys as it creates.

  • Getting Closer to Your Social Customer

    By Social Media Week.

    In this session, Patrick Stokes, VP Product Management at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, will discuss how organizations can streamline their overall social strategy by highlighting specific use cases.

  • Return of the Podcast

    By Social Media Week.

    Alex Blumberg, award-winning reporter and producer, co-host of NPR’s Planet Money, and founder and CEO of Gimlet Media, shares what he has learned from the startup journey, from idea to execution.

  • Building Products & Companies with Betaworks

    By Social Media Week.

    During this session, you’ll hear about Betaworks’ process for building products and teams, as well as get an inside look at what the 2015 Hackers have in the works on the product front.

  • The Myth of Venture Capital

    By Social Media Week.

    Jon Oringer will discuss tools available for starting a business with relatively little capital, while also providing insight on how to develop a foundation to set your business up for success.

  • The New DIY: Drones, Makers & Bots

    By Social Media Week.

    Martha Stewart will examine and demo various innovations borne from the maker community, including drones, 3-D printers, and bots, and discuss how these innovations may impact our future economies.

Help Your Startup Scale With These Sessions During #SMWNYC

While startup business owners and entrepreneurs understand that they need to market their products or services, finding the time and know-how to develop an effective plan can be a challenge. Luckily, this year’s Social Media Week includes several events providing practical hands-on advice taking your startup from idea to execution:

1. Building Products and Companies with The Betaworks Hackers in Residence

During this session, you’ll hear about betaworks process for building products and teams, plus some of the 2015 Hackers team will tell you about what the next generation of betaworks products might look like.

2. Growth-Hacking Quick Wins: Strategies To Increase Customer Base

This session is targeted to marketers, business developers, startups, and anyone looking to get more users and grow their products. You will not only learn about growth hacking and the methods that come with it, you’ll walk away with tactical, practical skills and strategies to significantly increase your customer base.

3. The Myth of Venture Capital, A Chat with Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO, Shutterstock

Jon Oringer will discuss the tools out there to start your own business from only a few thousand dollars and how to develop a solid foundation that will give your business the best chance of succeeding.

SMW NYC begins on February 23. Join executives from Buzzfeed, Code & Theory, Ford, General Electric, The New York Times, MTV, SalesForce, Tumblr, WIRED and more! For further information, visit Social Media Week.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Alex Blumberg And Digg CEO Joins #SMWNYC To Explore The Future of Podcasting

Thanks to SoundCloud and Spotify, and to shows like Serial and StartUp, we’re at the cusp of a new, on-demand era of radio.

Alex Blumberg is a man who needs little introduction. If you’ve ever listened to This American Life, the massively popular weekly radio show, or Planet Money, NPR’s excellent economy-explaining podcast, you certainly know Alex Blumberg’s voice. Lately, Blumberg has been climbing the iTunes charts with StartUp, a new podcast chronicling his efforts to build Gimlet Media.

Podcasts aren’t new, of course. Even the term has been around for a decade or so, and now feels hilariously dated. Yet Gimlet Media and others are betting that there’s room for more. More production, more storytelling, more narrative. So far, it seems like they’re right.

This article is for Alex Blumberg’s 2015 SMW New York event. If you’re looking for his 2016 session, click here!

Join Alex Blumberg, award-winning reporter and producer for This American Life; co-host of NPR’s Planet Money; and founder and CEO of Gimlet Media, for a discussion on the rising popularity of podcasts, technology’s influence on the future of audio content distribution, and also what he has learned on the journey of a startup from idea to execution.

Interviewing Alex on stage will be, Andrew McLaughlin, a partner at betaworks, a technology and media start-up studio based in New York City. Andrew also serves as CEO of Digg and Instapaper.

Alex Blumberg joins an incredible lineup of today’s leading thinkers, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Martha Stewart, John Collison (Co-Founder of Stripe), Meredith Kopit Levien (EVP of The New York Times), Jon Oringer (Founder and CEO of Shutterstock), and more. You can check out the latest lineup of incredible events here.

Get your pass today, and join us and our partners for what will be an extraordinary week of exploring our upwardly mobile, connected world.

Scholarship Application To Attend Social Media Week NYC

Social Media Week is built on a philosophy of openness and inclusivity, and for the upcoming conference, we’re excited to open up our annual Scholarship Program to provide complimentary Campus Passes to eligible students, non-profits, and startups, thanks to Forbes, our Social Media Week NYC Scholarship partner. The SMW NYC Scholarship provides access to our official sessions, masterclasses, experiential floor, co-working spaces, networking lounges, and more.

Andy Thomas

So, who qualifies?

  • Students (currently enrolled)
  • Non-profit employees
  • Startup or small business employees (defined as a company with no more than 10 employees)

You can apply here, and if you’re application is successful, we will notify you on a rolling basis. Please note, we have a limited number of Scholarships and cannot guarantee that your application will be accepted. For any questions, email, and we’ll be in touch at our earliest convenience

And of course, a very special thanks to Forbes for supporting this program! Without their commitment to the SMW mission, the Scholarship Program would not be possible

Why Are You Still Using A Key?

Get an apartment, get a job, get a significant other – next thing you know, you’re walking around with a key chain that makes you look like a janitor, or some 19th century jailer.

While KISI might not completely free you from the shackles of your keychain, it can help. As reported on Uncubed, KISI’s tech allows users to unlock doors using their smartphones – best of all it doesn’t require overhauling any existing entry systems.

Founded in Munich in 2012, the company expanded to New York after winning the EDC’s NYC Next Idea competition in 2013.

“We started trying to build our own intercom system,” cofounder Bernhard Mehl told us, “but we realized there are people who already do that really well. And then talking to all these coworking spaces, we realized they need all these management functions. They already have the infrastructure – we can tap into that and add a little device to the server room and then the whole office is upgraded.”

KISI is hiring for three jobs in sales and marketing out of their DUMBO offices. And if you’re planning a move to Munich anytime soon, they’re hiring a frontend developer there. Get all the details here.

Yunha Kim, Founder of Locket: Why I Quit My Job To Launch A Startup

When you initially meet Yunha Kim, you wouldn’t automatically assume that she is the mastermind behind Locket, the super successful lock screen app for Android, but that’s before she begins to speak with an intelligence and passion that you would expect from the head of a company. I’m not the only/first/last person to take notice. When companies like TechCrunch and VentureBeat are writing about your company and when Tyra Banks expresses interest in investing in your idea, people are bound to jump on the band wagon. During my visit to San Francisco, I got a chance to speak to Yunha about her journey from Investment Banker to Founder and CEO of  her very own startup. Find out below what exactly it takes to get an idea from concept to realization.

1) You started your career as an Investment Banker and with your switch from iPhone to Android user, you quickly found the calling for this company. Can you tell me a little bit about your first couple of months of the company?

YK: I can barely remember the first couple months of the company. It was just so crazy.

In the first month, I was running around pitching our idea for investment. After getting funded by Great Oaks VC, I was then running around pitching to advertisers and I did that for a half year. Then I started pitching again for another round of funding.

When we had no money or product, I was getting somewhere around four hours of sleep every night. I was living with five other guys out of a two-bedroom apartment with three dogs and a hamster where we worked and lived. We were also getting by with hot dogs and ramen noodles.

Sometimes, I wondered, ‘What did I sign up for?’ but I think I was really happy, getting things off the ground, creating something out of nothing.

2) This idea actually came from our culture’s tendency of constantly checking our phones. Can you give us a little more insight into that?

YK: While pulling long but boring hours in investment banking (prior to Locket), I wasn’t able to do anything fun on my monitor, so I was checking my phone a few hundred times per day. That’s when I realized I keep on checking my phone every single day, bringing it to the restroom, everywhere I go. Every single one of those moments I was unlocking my lock screen which was a picture of a daisy which came as a default lock screen with my Galaxy S3.

One day, I was looking at it wondering why anyone wasn’t doing anything with the most valuable real estate in advertising. If people check their phone 150 times per day, with 71 million Android users, that’s 10.7 billion glances on the lock screen every day in the US that we have not been able to monetize. It occurred to me that this will be the next big thing in mobile advertising.

3) What do you feel are some of the benefits of Locket?

YK: Locket brings content you care about to your lock screen based on your interest, swiping habits and time of the day. It’s a quick passive way to learn about what’s going on around you, in your world. I am too busy to check out all my apps on my phone, but with Locket, I am consistently updated. I was able to learn about a fire in Soma which is only a few blocks away from our office through my lock screen, then I looked outside my window and I saw that fire.

4) How do you find a life work balance with being in such a busy and quickly expanding company? What does your typical day look like?  

YK: When you are in a startup, it’s really difficult to balance your work and life (if you even have a life). It’s like when you have a baby (your startup), and the baby cries, you can’t really say you are off your work hours and let it cry. So, it will feel like you are on call 24/7.

5) I know focus on the company has changed, can you tell me a little about that?

YK: Recently, we have stopped our paid-per-swipe-ad service. We are now focusing on contextual content on your lock screen. Based on an user’s interest, swiping habits and time of the day, we serve content that people care about in a visually delightful way on the Android lock screen, and as the apps is consistently used, the content becomes more relevant

For more on Yunha and Locket, please visit:

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress.  On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.


Social Matchmaking for Startups & Job Seekers

Social technology startups are one of the highest growth verticals in the emerging technology space. So, it’s no wonder there’s a larger focus on startups at SMW this year than we’ve seen in the past.

Companies are looking for the right match of talent and personality. Job seekers are looking for the right blend of security and “Awesome Sauce.” There is no Tinder for job seekers…..yet. But it’s coming. Until then, how can social startups + job seekers = match made in heaven?

If you’re a job seeker, you might love these SMW sessions

Beyond LinkedIn: Using Niche Social Media Platforms in the Job Hunt
Sure, Twitter and LinkedIn are the go-to platforms for keeping up with news and staying in touch with professional contacts, but have you considered using niche social media platforms to help you get a job?

Startups to Watch in 2014 presented by

It’s imperative to stay on top of new social technologies and startups who are redefining communication. Social Media Week and are bringing together a carefully selected group of startups that show the greatest potentially to break through to the mainstream in 2014.

Where else you can look for credible startup jobs

Aside from attending Social Media Week for panels, POVS, and networking opportunities where and how can you endure your plan beyond the business card/handshake game….which if you’re a social start up, Twitter IS your business card and virtual handshake. In addition to platforms we’ve all come to know and love (i.e., LinkedIn), where else can you find startup job opportunities?

There are hundreds of job postings to read and Meetups to attend, but the most credible early stage startups are on AngelList, whereas more of the mid-full funded startup opportunities are listed opportunities on VentureLoop (syndicated from multiple sources). These sites have company history so you can vet their history, funding status, financial stability, and other team members.

You can also vet these companies via CrunchBase. Any legit startup will be listed on CrunchBase and AngelList— Google them– what kind of press coverage do they have and what’s the general POV on them?

How to get a job at a startup
  1. Startups hire inspired, energetic, creative, and personable individuals.
    Be creative and concise in your attempt to gain their attention (no one has time/or wants to read a traditional CV). Vanilla need not apply
  2. Use data visualization to your advantage
    Create an infographic, one-page scroll website, a custom FB page, or Pinterest board. Or make a video about who you are, your skills, and your experience. Be Different. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, and personalize it each startup you’re approaching. Attach a POV on what you’ve gleaned and what you can bring to the table to optimize their existing efforts and team.
  3. Make sure you have relevant case studies/experience to share on demand.
  4. Be discoverable across social platforms, and make sure your “personal brand” is well represented.
    Most startup founders are active across all social channels. Opening a dialogue with them that way is a GREAT first impression — just be careful what you openly share and be mindful of embargoes
  5. Most importantly: be active in the startup community in your city.
    Set up a Google Alerts for the list of startups your interested in, and pay attention if they are speaking at an event or Meetup. GO THERE! Meet them. Get in front of them and show your personality. Team/personality chemistry is everything.

So if you’re a job seeker, make sure to join SMW and get more tips!

Jess Seilheimer runs a consultancy called Cretegic– your insight-driven partner for a digital world. We accelerate strategic planning into actionable ideas & marketing for brands and startups. She is also the Strategy & Marketing lead for a startup Birdi. Prior, she was the SVP of Digital Innovation and Strategic Planning at Havas.

The Future of Business: SMW in the Eyes of Sara Holoubek

Sara Holoubek is the founder and CEO of Luminary Labs, a network of experts that helps create the business models that make organizations resilient to changing markets. Technology and social media are an important part of the business models that will be successful in the future of our always-on, always connected-world. Something Sara understands intimately. As a longtime friend and partner, we trust her recommendations completely — and so should you.

These are the events that Sara is most excited for:

  1. Startups to Watch in 2014 presented by
    Because I always love big, messy, industries, and the startups about to disrupt them.
  2. The Future of Now: Health Innovation Track, Presented by Merck
    Health tech is hot.
  3. What (bio)Tech Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Tesla.
    If you haven’t been to the Harlem (bio)Space yet, it’s a must. Right here, in New York City, evolutionary biotech ideas now have a space where they can become the products that solve real health problems. Plus, they have really cool t-shirts.
  4. Fueling Social Fandom at MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central
    Everything I learned about influencer engagement came from Don Steele.
  5. Upworthy’s Real Mission: A Keynote Announcement from Eli Pariser, Founder.
    Because it is brilliant to make “what’s important popular, even if what’s popular isn’t considered important by the masses.”

To catch up with Sara at Social Media Week, check out these events (and others) and register now! We are excited for her to join us and we want you to be there!

Building an East Coast Tech Center: What’s in Store for NYC’s Future?

Last week’s panel, “New York City’s Tech Future“, got everyone thinking about how far New York City has come and how much farther we need to go. There was a lot of discussion about how New York City differs from Silicon Valley. In New York the innovation is at smaller venues and companies, we haven’t quite gotten our big Google or Facebook yet. However, Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, noted, “we’re seeing that a lot of corporations are reaching out to these smaller companies for acquisition and services”. Alan Patricof, Managing Director of Greycroft Partners, also noted that the model of fundraising is different in NYC. He noted that few firms do B-Round ($5-$15MM) here and there is a lot of seed capital around, a lot of VCs have cashed out and become angels. Additionally, Patricof noted, “A-Round requires going to an organized firm like Greycroft and there aren’t a lot of firms like these in NYC.” Nevertheless, Bowles noted that 486 start-ups got VC or angel funding last year and of those, 15 had raised $50MM+.

There are also several issues related to the recruitment of talent in NYC. Bowles pointed out – liveability and quality of life are key issues. He suggested that, in order to attract more talent in engineering and entrepreneurship, the next mayor will have to focus on creating more middle-income affordable housing, as most tech/start-up employees aren’t making six figures.

Students are another big issue. A few of the panelists suggested that there is a tendency for recent grads to start their companies near where they went to school, especially because of the focus on intellectual property on campuses, how students can and will take risks, and the advantageous recruiting opportunities that proximity presents.  This focused the conversation on the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Anne Li, the Managing Director, EVP at NYCEDC, argued the case for NYC to focus on tech. Li said, “NYC is underweight in the number of engineers we produce…there are not that many industries we can diversify ourselves into but tech is one”. She also noted that similar projects in other countries have been funded by the government. However, our city’s government doesn’t have those kinds of funds to give. So, the focus has really been on the universities. That’s where the partnership with Israel’s Technion came to play on this campus proposal. Israel has demonstrated itself as a country that has a strong grasp on how to commercialize research. Additionally, several other city universities have started to further develop their tech programs. NYU has started a Center for Urban Science & Progress in Brooklyn and Columbia University is expanding its engineering school. Li estimates that the three projects combined will double the number of engineers (PhDs) in 20 years. She also suggested that work is being done at the high school level as well. Li says, “great coders learn how to code in high school not college”, so there’s a computer science high school in the works.

The discussion of what students want to do after they graduate also came into play. Patricof suggested that most students in NYC want to start their own company when perhaps instead they should be “looking to join a big company to bring entrepreneurial spirit or join an existing start-up”. He noted that there are a lot of companies that are imitating one another these days:  “You should start a company if you have a passion and you’ve learned a lot about it and you have a plan, not hunt for ideas or copy what someone else has done and say ‘I’m gonna do it better'”. Scott Anderson, Partner & Chief Strategy Officer at Control Group, backed him up by saying that his company looks for more skilled workers and sees great value in new recruits who have failed before. Patricof furthered the argument of the value of having worked at a failed start-up: “They don’t assign people different roles so you learn everything…you watch and learn from an unsophisticated leader and then you’re ready to do a start-up because you’ve seen the pitfalls and not spent your own money.”

So, the overall feeling was that New York City can become a more attractive destination for engineers and entrepreneurs by building more academic resources for students and by making the city a better and more affordable place to live for experienced talent. Recent graduates will need to start shifting the attention toward joining existing start-ups rather than creating imitative start-ups of their own. There will also need to be the economic support and incentive to allow them to do this – through improved fundraising avenues for  start-ups, affordable housing options, etc.

Victoria Harman (@vc1harman) is a social media content & strategy specialist and entrepreneur based in New York City.