On Nov. 28, Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of New York Tech Meetup gave a special presentation to students at the university giving them a peek at managing the largest meetup and non-profit organization supporting New York’s growing technology community. Having such a vital role in the future of NYC’s tech industry, Lawrence was hand-picked for the job of leading the over 25,600-member organization in their representation of what the entire city’s internet and technology field has to offer the outside world.
NYTM was founded in 2004 by Dawn Barber and meetup.com founder Scott Heiferman to showcase what local tech startups and businesses have created or are building through the use of gatherings, presentations, training, and meetups held throughout the five boroughs every month, drawing larger crowds with each event. The idea behind services like meetup.com is to provide a way that people can come together, collaborate, and share information even in the wake of tragedies such as the recent devastation the Hurricane Sandy inflicted on the greater tri-state area.
“The beauty of NYTM is that is showcases to the world that NYC still has engineers who are capable of building great things,” explained Lawrence.
Recently, university alumni Jeremy Pease and Rob Caucci presented their own start-up company Space Splitter, to a packed crowd at the November 13th NY Tech Meetup held at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. They showcased their newly founded service that allows roommates to delegate shopping and bill paying responsibilities to alleviate the struggles of sharing a living space with others; “Forever changing the way roommates manage their household finances and relationships.”
Space Splitter is just one of the many companies and solutions that have arrived in New York and taken part in the meetups hosted by NYTM which draw an estimated 12,000+ attendees annually. The university is not only contributing alumni to the NY tech movement, but are also playing a role in hosting events as well.
“We have been growing at a rapid rate, with over 200 new members joining every single month,” Lawrence said. Lawrence went on to compare the average NY Tech event to that of a Justin Beiber concert adding that, “our events have become so popular that people have even begun scalping tickets for them.” The reason that NYTM has become so increasingly popular is that it transcends the mundane power-point approach that so many businesses took in the past to share ideas.
“We keep the magic in software,” explained Jessica, “those who make presentations at our meetups must actually demo live software! Screenshots, lectures and power-point slide shows are not enough.” The overall collaboration has been overwhelming and most importantly: inspiring. In darkened economic times it can be refreshing to see what others are doing to innovate and overcome. In an effort to increase education and inspiration amongst aspiring New York startups, the organization also launched a series of short video clips co-produced by NASDAQ OMX entitled “Startup Stories,” which detail struggles and challenges that New York based Startup Companies have endured, and shares lessons and tips for future aspiring techies to go forth and start their own ventures.
According to a recent case study called New Tech City published by the Center for an Urban Future, New York’s economy is prosperous in the wake of bleak economic times with 486 technology companies having been founded in the city since 2007, and the number of venture capital deals in New York rose by 32 percent from 2007-2011, while it fell by more than 10 percent across the nation. Companies like Tumblr, the online photo/media blogging service, have been raising millions of dollars in capital and hiring here in New York.
[quote]“We keep the magic in software. Those who make presentations at our meetups actually use demo live software.”
– Jessica Lawrence, Managing Director of New York Tech Meetup[/quote]
“Even Facebook chose to open an office here in the city, and more importantly an office of Engineers that don’t just market but literally construct a product which proves that NYC is building and doing things,” adds Lawrence. She concluded by reminding everyone in attendance why New York is able to blossom in the technology field, noting that because of the various other central points of business located in the city such as finance or fashion “here in NYC technology is not just a piece of the pie, it is the pie dish that holds the pie together.”
The New York Tech Meetup is currently working with the city to lend aid to the Hurricane Sandy recovery, and has launched a new website NY Tech Responds. They are currently working to help the city and act as first hand tech responders in restoring vital systems and are currently accepting applications for volunteers. Additionally, they will be hosting a Hackathon to provide a platform for people to work together to create new solutions to help in the recovery and to launch their Hurricane Sandy Fundraising Campaign on Dec. 1 and 2. For more information check out: nytechresponds.org.