Originally posted on Forbes.
Did you know that New York City just became the #2 city for total available venture capital, surpassing Boston and putting Silicon Valley on notice? New York Senator Chuck Schumer rallied the crowd of founders and engineering students around this fact, remarking: “If you are interested in high-growth tech companies, New York City is the place to be.”
On Saturday, JESS3’s President and COO Leslie Bradshaw and our Technical Director Bonnie Aumann joined me at the New York Stock Exchange for the SA500, an event which brings together 500 top engineers to meet 50 of the best East Coast technology companies.
What I loved about the event:
1. The NYSE location and ambiance set the stage for an elevated experience. Founders and engineering students alike felt and appreciated the significance. Whether we all take our companies public or whether we do something significant enough in our lifetimes to be invited back, only time will tell. For now, having a presence on NYSE for SA 500 was the gift of a lifetime.
2. Meeting the next generation of engineers. Listening to them about what they are working on and learning gave me a sense of where things are headed. It was also inspiring to see my own company through their eyes; our visualizations, growth and client roster captivated them.
3. Talking with other founders about east coast living, founding and funding. The sense of community and strength of the startups were equally strong. Because I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area by New Zealander parents who worked at the Embassies, founding my company there was a natural extension.
What I would have liked to have seen at the event:
1. Where was foursquare? They are arguably one of New York City’s most notable success stories. They give all of us on the east coast hope. Would have loved to have had them in attendance and even as a featured speaker.
2. Why aren’t they learning about social APIs? I was concerned that over 95 percent of the students my team and I talked to had zero experience with the major application programming interfaces (APIs) made available by companies like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and Google. These APIs are not only the lifeblood of our work at JESS3, but they are becoming critical components of everything from websites and applications, to traditional software and the television. I am hoping that more east coast universities step up their course offerings and make social / API work a requirement in the near future.
3. There was no mention of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I am trying to figure out why it wasn’t mentioned and can only conclude that either (1) the organizers and speakers were either so focused on delivering their own messages that they didn’t have the room to mention it or (2) the subject made them uncomfortable and they didn’t want to be the one to bring it up. My partner Leslie Bradshaw wrote about SA 500 taking this issue head on (“A Different Kind of Occupation of Wall Street: The Silicon Alley 500“), in which the SA 500 comes out looking like the hero. Companies like ours and the other 52 companies are part of the solution, she posits. And I agree. Would have liked to have heard that message.