25 People Every New Founder Should Meet In New York Tech

ben lererDon’t be fooled by his party pictures. Ben Lerer is one of the smartest businessmen in New York tech.

New to the New York startup scene?Don’t know a soul but in search of funding, press and good people?

Make your first 25 meetings with these well-connected people in New York.

They’re the gatekeepers to everything a founder could need.

Nikhil Kalghatgi, Senior Associate at SoftBank Capital

Kalghatgi meets with tons of entrepreneurs and is an advisor at Gen Y Capital, so he always knows which startups are on the rise.

He also organizes a lot of social events for the vibrant, young New York tech scene.

Alex Taub, Business Development at Dwolla

Taub was poached from Aviary where he lead business development and partnerships. Now he is helping Dwolla open up shop in New York. He was recommended for the position by star early-stage investor, Joshua Kushner.

Taub has been in the New York startup scene since college, when he attended Yeshiva University, and he has taken the time to get to know thousands of tech people personally.

He's also a mentor at DreamIt Accelerator and a Forbes contributor.

Taub isn't much of a drinker, but buy him a chocolate milk (he doesn't do coffee either) and he'll open up your tech world.

Steve Martocci, Jared Hecht, and Steve Cheney of GroupMe

The GroupMe guys are brilliant, fun, and well-connected.

Steve Cheney can answer any business-related startup question you have, and he's an insightful blogger who occasionally writes for TechCrunch.

Martocci and Hecht are humble and down to earth despite their ~ $80 million exit to Skype; they are spreading the wealth to other entrepreneurs via angel investments.

Chris Dixon, cofounder of Hunch and angel investor

Chris Dixon has founded multiple companies including Hunch, which was recently acquired by eBay.

He's also a very active angel investor, so naturally he's well connected.

Rachel Sklar, founder of Change The Ratio

Rachel Sklar has established herself as a well-known name through her work at The Huffington Post and Mediaite, where she was a founding editor.

Sklar is also a big advocate for women in tech. She founded Change The Ratio and passionately supports women entrepreneurs, including Kellee Khalil of Loverly and Kathryn Minshew of Daily Muse.

Adam Ludwin, Principal at RRE

Ludwin is someone any early-stage startup founder should meet.

He has a good grasp of emerging startup trends and he can get you a meeting with the big-wigs at RRE like Stuart Ellman.

Charlie O'Donnell, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

O'Donnell began his career as an investor working with Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures. He has since gone on to be a principal at First Round Capital where he helped find startups like GroupMe, Singleplatform and Chloe + Isabel.

Now he's pumping up his town, Brooklyn, with seed money from a firm he founded, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

He's extremely well connected and has helped numerous tech new-comers land startup jobs, including Megan Towe, whom he helped place at LiveIntent.

Phin Barnes, Partner at First Round Capital

Barnes is the guy to know if you're looking for early stage-money. He's very nice and a great listener, but he has a lot of smart opinions to share about the state of startups.

You can win him over by wearing a sweet pair of kicks. His blog is called SneakerheadVC, after all.

David Tisch, Managing Director and founder of TechStars NYC

If you want to get into the top startup accelerator program on the east coast, it'd help if you befriended David Tisch.

Tisch is an active angel investor and he also founded TechStars NYC. He's sarcastic, savvy and blunt; if you can impress Tisch, you can impress anyone. It's well worth it to try.

Joshua Kushner and Chris Paik, Thrive Capital

Joshua Kushner is proving himself to be a successful young investor. The 26-year-old VC founded Thrive Capital and has invested in startups like Instagram and Dwolla.

He's soft spoken but incredibly insightful. You won't find him on Twitter much, but he's actively posting photos on Instagram.

Paik is his more outgoing half. The recent Harvard graduate sees a lot of startups and actively pounds the New York pavement.

Mike Duda, cofounder and Managing Partner of Consigliere Brand Capital

Duda in an investor with an advertising background, an awesome combination for startups looking to get off the ground.

He's well connected - you can catch him playing basketball with Justin Bieber from time to time and his cofounder is NBA player Steve Nash.

Nihal Mehta, founder of LocalResponse

Mehta is running a mobile ad startup that's quickly becoming a profitable business. He's also an active angel investor who has put money into startups alongside Sean Parker and Dave Morin.

If you're lucky, he'll bring his puppy Stanley to your meeting.

Matt Meeker, CEO of BarkBox

Meeker just finished his gig as Entrepreneur in Residence at Polaris Ventures where he was the adult supervision at startup incubator Dogpatch Labs New York.

Prior to that, he cofounded Meetup with Scott Heiferman. Now he's the CEO and founder of BarkBox, a pet food and supply startup.

Meeker's days running Meetup and Dogpatch Labs helped him meet a boatload of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, so he can open a lot of doors.

Ben Lerer, founder of Thrillist

No one in tech is as fun as Ben Lerer.

Don't be fooled by his abundance of party photos; he's a sharp businessman who's grown Thrillist into a $120 million+ company.

He also has a keen eye for startups. He invests in early stage companies through his family's firm, Lerer Ventures, which partners with SV Angel on the west coast.

Rick Webb, angel investor

Rick Webb is an angel investor in startups such as Foursquare, Branch and Percolate.

Like Duda, he has an advertising background that is a valuable asset for any startup looking to market itself. He cofounded Barbarian Group.

Matt Shampine and Jesse Middleton, cofounders of WeWork Labs

Shampine and Middleton cofounded WeWork Labs last year. It's a coworking space that houses hundreds of startup founders in New York City.

Middleton and Shampine have multiple startups; they see tons of entrepreneurs and investors come through the doors of the Labs.

Mike Yavonditte, CEO of Hashable and investor

Yavonditte is an investor in more than 40 startups through ff Venture Capital, including Klout and Yipit.

He also built and sold Quigo to AOL for $340 million.

Mike Brown Jr, Partner at AOL Ventures

Mike Brown Jr learned the venture business first hand from Richard Branson.

Now he's running AOL Ventures; he was hand-picked by Tim Armstrong for the position. He's brought in deals like Codecademy and SailThru for AOL and he does a little angel investing on the side.

Brown likes to stay behind the scenes, but if you can lure him out of hiding he's a great person to know and he comes highly recommended by founders who work with him.

Steve Schlafman, Principal at Lerer Ventures

Schlafman worked with the Stickybits team before it became Turntable.fm.

Now he's working alongside the HuffPo guys, Eric Hippeau and Ken Lerer, at Lerer Ventures.

Schlaffman sees a lot of deals and knows a lot of people in the startups space.

Jacob Brody, Head of Biz Dev at MESA

Brody is a former VentureBeat writer, so he's very well sourced.

He can be found at coffee meetings all over Manhattan.

Kenny Herman and Wiley Cerilli, SinglePlatform

Wiley Cerilli founded SinglePlatform and Kenny Herman heads up the site's Business Development.

Cerilli was part of Seamless before it was acquired. Herman regularly hosts events for the younger New York tech crowd and he's made it a point to know lots of people in the scene.

Brooke Hammerling, Brew PR

Brooke Hammerling runs one of the best PR firms for startups. Her clients have included Zynga and GroupMe.

She knows every press person in Manhattan. Brew PR is one of the only firms that has clients pitching it for business.

Andrea Hong, Senior Business Development Manager at AOL

Hong is bubbly and well-connected. She can hook you up with most of the other industry gatekeepers and frequently hangs out with the likes of Kenny Herman and Steve Cheney.

She was rightfully named one of the most poachable players in New York tech by BetaBeat.

Brad Hargreaves, Adam Pritzker, Matt Brimer, cofounders of General Assembly

Hargreaves, Pritzker and Brimer made a startup school from scratch in just one one. General Assembly now has multiple campuses around the world including two in New York that house tons of entrepreneurs.

Because they work with so many startups, they know what's going on in New York tech better than anyone and can make lots of intros.

Dennis Crowley, founder of Foursquare

Crowley is such a people-person, he made it his life-long mission to help people hang out.

He's a busy guy running one of New York's most promising startups, Foursquare, but he always makes time to help out his friends. He still makes time to meet new entrepreneurs and offer advice whenever possible. He has started making angel investments.

Crowley is one of -- if not the most -- well-connected people in New York tech.

For more great people in New York tech, don't miss:

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