Startup Resources to Breakthrough in Silicon Alley, Part 1: Events & Meetups
This series can really help any startup enthusiasts, but it is tailored specially for those starting up in the great city of New York. The posts will include a list of the most beneficial events, newsletters, blogs, and conferences that you as a founder should know about to give you that edge.
Top Meetups & Monthly Events in NYC
** Full discretion, these opinions are based on my personal experiences. Some of these Meetups I may have some affiliation with, may help run, but trust me, if they sucked, they wouldn’t be on the list, and I definitely would not be affiliated with them.
Startup Grind NYC
“Startup Grind is an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. Each month we welcome an amazing speaker who shares their story with our community and tells us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’ll do differently next time.” via Meetup.com
The Scoop: Startup Grind is the first Meetup group I felt truly excited to attend and participate in every month. This is a once a month event where they bring world class founders, entrepreneurs, investors, and authors to educate the NYC tech community. Each interview is candid, interactive, and insightful. In the past year they have brought in speakers like Soraya Darabi, Nir Eyal, Wiley Cerilli , Max Krohn. Best of all, this event brings top notch enthusiasts of all skill sets together to collaborate and build productive relationships.
Specialty: General Startup Enthusiast
“Interviews w/ Fashion Tech Luminaries: A monthly interview series brought to you by Open Source Fashion, featuring some of NYC’s most forward thinking Fashion Tech innovators. This discussion is a live podcast recording of Fashion Is Your Business, the leading Fashion Tech Podcast on iTunes.
The Scoop: This event is perfect for all you fashion tech fanatics out there. Fashion tech is huge in NYC as the City is one of the biggest fashion hubs in the world, as well as the ever growing tech community. The guys we mentioned above have done an amazing job synergistically melding the two. During Caffeine Convos, expect experienced entrepreneurs who discuss the latest happenings in Fashion Tech. Touching on topics such as innovation in fashion, retail, and the power of technology in the industry. Along with the event, Pavan, Rob, and Marc have launched “Fashion Is Your Business”, the leading Fashion Tech Podcast on iTunes.
Specialty: Fashion Tech Lovers
Product Hunt NYC
Host: Harry Raymond
Product Hunt is helping solve product discovery. Let’s bring together the growing community of Product Hunters in NYC. This event is great for product people.
The Scoop: This community is based off the enthused online community called Product Hunt started by Ryan Hoover. This monthly event brings together people who love new products and new tech projects. The format changes from time to time, but you usually get a lot of pitches, demos, product insights, and lots of networking opportunities. This is a great place to go if you are building a tech product like an app, and want to get real, direct feedback.
Specialty: Product Lovers
NYC Tech Breakfast
“NYC TechBreakfast is a “show and tell” format event where up to five different technologists will demo their technologies from a wide range of industries, ranging from software to hardware, IT, Biotech, robotics to space tech.”
The Scoop: As mentioned above, this is a very interactive “show and tell” format. Each breakfast gives 5 companies the opportunity to present their companies to the audience. This helps founders gain exposure for their businesses while also teaching the audience how to become storytellers for their own companies. This Meetup has grown in NYC, but continues to bring quality people together and helps founders gain much needed exposure.
Specialty: Curious Future Founders
Host: Steve Dean
“A Thrive Dinner is an open invitation to the creatives, changemakers, technologists, nomads, and entrepreneurs you think we should meet. This is not a tech, social venture, entrepreneur, or networking meetup. It’s an informal get-together of people seeking meaningful conversation and purpose-filled action in their lives. We hope to help you find it here.” via Splashthat
The Scoop: Thrive Dinners are not your average networking event and that's because they aren’t a average networking event. This is a gathering of like minded interesting people who are sharing a meal, a couple of laughs and a beautiful space together every month. This event brings out a lot of great young minds because it is known to be a very laid back setting where you don’t have to be on your “professional game”, you can get comfortable, talk with friends and make great memories. Many times the people you meet here turn out to be close friends, cofounders, and business partners.
Specialty: Creatives and Friend Seekers
Uptown Tech Meetup:
Host: John Henry
“Who says the only tech & startup scene is downtown or in BK? Calling all Uptown Techies & Startup-minded people serious about building companies & up for a good time while doing so!”
The Scoop: One of the best meetups due to the fact that it not only brings great intellectuals together, but it does so in an area that is not really known as a tech hub. Uptown tech Meetup brings some of the top entrepreneurs and investors to Harlem to discuss trends in tech, PR tips, as well and entrepreneurship strategy. One of their main event series called War Stories, has been an absolute hit; they bring in notable entrepreneurs to discuss some of their “War Stories” as they worked to launch their companies.
Specialty: Founders and Startup Enthusiasts
Weekly Community Events:
Alley NYC Happy Hour ShowCase
Host: Alley NYC Teamember
“Alley NYC is a supportive and collaborative community for companies spanning across every industry who create & innovate. Our goal is to foster a nurturing environment, so you can produce your best work. Our event series compliment and exemplify our diverse culture. Whether it’s hosting music roundtables, on the future of the music community, or hosting a panel with the top venture capitalists, providing insight into what they look for, our events are for everyone. We bring together all different communities, different genders, races, and interests, to form one community, ALLEY.” via Alley Website
The Scoop: Alley is one of the first places startup beginners go when they are looking to take the dive into the NYC startup community. Alley hosts numerous events, but one that I would like to highlight which I have personally benefitted from is the weekly happy hours. Other than the fact that yes, they have beer, they provide guests with something so much more important in community. A community full of entrepreneurs at various stages that come together to share experiences and knowledge, while also many times cultivating friendships. Alley hosts pitch contests, VC insiders and much more, but at the heart of all of that, is giving people a place to grow with each other.
Specialty: Community Lovers
Founders Friday at The Coffee Foundry
“Startups are a slog. Being a founder is hard. We need some inspiration and good company (see what I did there) from time to time so we can keep going. We can get so overcome by debugging code, finding more users, putting out fires, and trying to keep the lights on, all while trying to look like we’re crushing it 24/7. We want to make In Good Company a safe space to breath, share our stories and just be awesome to each other.” Via Meetup
The Scoop: In Good Company is a community which meets every week, and has become a safe haven for founders to gather, network, and reenergize. Their staple is the Founders Friday event which meets Friday evening and brings notable, as well as relatable, founders and investors to speak to an intimate audience. The interview with the guest last about 35 mins and the rest of the time is spent with Q.A from the audience and networking afterwards.
Specialty: Startup Enthusiasts & Community Seekers
Hosts: Aidan Feldman
“Free office hours for programming help — any programming language, all skill levels. The format is super simple: you come with your laptop, sit and hang out and code, and flag down one of the organizers if you have a question. That’s it! If we can’t answer your question, we’ll find you someone who can, or at least point you in the right direction. Note that this is a Meetup for people learning to code.” Via Meetup
The Scoop: This is one of the best resources for those learning how to code and for those who trying to grow their skill level. Hacker Hours runs weekly, and they have classes on various days of the week, perfect for those of you who have weekday jobs and can’t make weekday and or day time classes. Bring your own project or have an instructor give you intro work, FOR FREE! AN incredible resource and one I’d just want to thank openly for providing to our community (snaps to Hacker Hours!)
Specialty: Hackers in Training.
“Flash Pitch is a monthly pitch event where we give 8 companies a chance to pitch to 4 top tier investors in under 2mins. The purpose is to provide startups with world-class feedback, prizes, and potential investment.”
The Scoop: At Flash Pitch, we give entrepreneurs a place where they can not only pitch their ideas to investors, but also introduce those ideas to the NYC startup community. To be honest, though the startups are great, the best part about this event is how many people come and are able to participate. With the audience openly voting on the best pitches, and interacting with the founders and investors, everyone stays alert and very engaged.
Specialty: Founders Raising Capital & Startup Enthusiasts
Please leave any suggestions for Events or Meetups that have impacted your development. We would love to hear what has worked for you. Also, make sure to follow up with any of the Meetups that were suggested above. Be warned that many of these communities will not meet in December due to the crazy holiday schedule, but visit the links and figure out which one’s you’ll be a part of.
Things to look out for:
Part 2 & 3 of our Startup Resource Series (including newsletters, podcasts, blogs, and productivity apps; you can always sign up at Usspire for those updates)
A campaign we’ll be launching this week to support a Fred Wilson initiative called Computer Science For All. Check out our Crowd Rise Campaign and email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to get involved.
I truly hope this helped, and if it did help in any way; please hit the recommend button to make sure we spread the resources.