Monday: Sitting in the heart of New York, near Times Square, I could feel the up-beat of the city. Since the financial crisis, the city has invited itself under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg. The majority of the businesses in the city were composed of Finance, Insurance and real estate. If the business environment in New York needed to survive, something needed to changed.
The class started with a visit from Ziv Navoth, founder of paragraph. Ziv is a great story teller. The way how he is connected the dots from his visit to India to what he wanted to do in Life was exciting. He had experience work in cooperate companies as well as starting his own one. His company paragraph is a publishing company that bridges with gap between then authors and the customer. His 10 lessons for an entrepreneur seem very helpful. Monday evening we had drinks with the group, everyday discussed about what they were looking forward to in the coming days.
Tuesday started with a class discussion with Consultant from Acceleration group . They asked very simple but very important 3 questions. The questions revolved around a problem which we wanted to solve and what do we think, the resources required to solves these problems. The problems describe by the class ranged from social, economic and business related problem. Alex discussed some of the problems in detail to give his thoughts. It was also shown how the startup scene in New York looks like in recent times. The heat map of startup companies in Manhattan and Brooklyn was densely populated. Afternoon we visited CUSP center at NYU campus in Brooklyn. This center is working to solve big data problems for New York City. It was exciting to see what they have been doing so far and how much they have achieved in short period of time. The Taxi example of big data was very insightful.
Wednesday start with the class session with Acceleration group with the discussion around how to solve the problem and case study on the company renttherunway(https://www.renttherunway.com/). The startup company had a different business model. This generated a fruitful discussion in the class.
Afternoon company visit was with NYU incubators. Entities like these incubators are the necessary catalyst for encouraging startup and Entrepreneur environment in a city. The incubator accept mostly students of NYU and can also accept people from outside if one member of the team is from NYU. The essential factors that dertermine the acceptance of a startup are Team, market and Differentiated product. According to Steve,(MD NYU incubators) one the best time to start a company is during depression. The company should focus on sales from start. It should find means to generate revenue as soon as possible. There will be failures in startup but a lot more is earned from failure then success. He is focused to make sure that companies that become a part of this incubator are successful.
On Thursday we started our day at NYU Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab, the speaker was Frank Rimalovski.
Frank spoke about the startup scene in NYU especially. How NYC is focused on enhancing the Entrepreneur culture in the universities. This lab resides right in heart of NYU main campus. Any NYU student can be a part of this lab. This lab promotes the interaction between inter discipline students. 9 out of 10 startup companies fail. The lab is producing not only phone Application related startups but also biomedical and fashion related startup. The lab is well equipped . it has 3D printers and laser cutters.
In the evening, we visited Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, a law firm. In this we discussed about the anti-corruption in the companies that are listed in the US stock market even that they are based outside US. The speakers talked about what is consider as corruption and what can be done to minimize the impact of corruption allegations.
On Friday we had class discussions with CEO of Socialdraft and FriendsEAT.com Antonio Evans. He discussed Agile programing ,Slack ( a tool used for internal communication), his experiences with the People management. Replacing people when required was also discussed.
We also met Andres Blank,Co-Founder and CEO of Caliber.He has sold his first startup and now building a new company called Caliber. It is messaging app for professional networking. Combination of linkedin and Tinder.
In the afternoon we visited General assembly, it used to be co working space but now it has pivoted itself more towards an educational institution. The school is more focused toward the practical knowledge and also the instructors are mostly professionals from industry who teach at this institute. Interestingly GA doesn’t provide any diploma for it courses and they are expensive but the students are growing in numbers. It seems more students and startup wants more of the practical knowledge then just diplomas.
In short the first week was focused on the entrepreneur scene and culture in New York City. I learned different stages of startup, funding( rounds of raising money, series A,B,C…), Roles of incubators , accelerators and co working spaces. Which stage of the startup they contribute more. Meeting people with real experiences of starting companies and exiting successfully.
“A revolution does not happen when society adopts new tools. It happens when society adopts new behaviors.”