First things first, New York Tech Week is a little more unstructured than many major tech events, and that’s absolutely part of its egalitarian charm.
The organizers purposefully give the brands and event hosts the opportunity to bring value. Anybody could submit an event on a Google spreadsheet, which balloons to include hundreds of events all over the city. Companies can put down anything they want, and your mind first reels at the sheer chaos. As an attendee, you come to embrace the decentralization to the point where you think, “This is very punk rock and I like it.”
There are events you rush to get into, some you get on the waiting list for, then others where you’ve got to know somebody to get into them. We experienced all three.
The companies that host are so generous with their space and their time. We went to events at iHeartRadio, Bloomberg, and even a private apartment party hosted by a startup. The companies that put the time and effort into throwing an event did an incredible job. It takes a lot of work to host people, make them feel welcome, and show them something amazing.
The speakers were super insightful and we learned a lot. The fellow attendees and passionate founders we met at these events couldn’t be more energetic about the future of tech. Networking was fantastic and great conversations were had.
The startup funding environment now versus five years ago is way, way different
If you’ve been around 12 months, you’ve got an established market product fit, and you’re profitable, you’re in good shape approaching the VCs. Capital is tighter than ever for seed rounds, If you can show proof a digital business model can work, you’ll have a better shot at securing funds.
The emphasis for VCs is on performance, risk, and longevity. Things like 12 months of running profits with actual customers and users, being cash-flow positive, roadmap for scale all paint a positive picture of your startup. That’s in stark contrast to five years ago. In 2018, if you had a team, a 10-slide Guy Kawasaki-style deck, a market assessment, and you ran a solid prototype, you had at least a fair shot at scoring some starting cash.
Unlocking seed capital is more along the lines of, “Show us that you’re running a business, and can grow that business.”
AI for innovation was a hot topic
The throughline in many panels and keynote speakers centered around AI. Everywhere you look there are young, hungry, smart, fast-moving young people who are prototyping AI tools and getting scrappy with emerging technologies and AI. Product demos were happening everywhere. We had a sense of how much heavy lifting AI can do when it comes to application development and product creation.
AI is also making speed to product much faster. It doesn’t take as much time to spin up an MVP product anymore. Even beyond AI, there are so many tools out there to build something quickly and have a real use case for it.
A product that stood out
The music generation AI platform Tamber. Say you want to write a song that’s a certain style and in the vein of a particular genre. Tamber imports and creates tracks, assigning plugins and instruments to build you an eight-bar loop with multiple layers. Just by using descriptive words or phrases, you could use Tamber to create the building blocks of your song.
If you want to stay on trend, you should attend
As a services company, knowing the tools and understanding the space makes us better consultants when we’re talking to clients. When somebody asks us about experimenting with AI, chances are they don’t have anyone on hand internally. They’re looking to us for guidance. Understanding which tools are available can help us solve issues for our clients. You have to immerse yourself in it to stay ahead.
Were you at New York Tech Week? Are you working on something that will change the world? Let’s connect!