On Tuesday, October 18, my colleagues John Frankel, Wei Deng, Raffi Sapire, and I attended Techstars Demo Day, followed by the Bloomberg Empowered Entrepreneur Conference. The morning began to the tune of Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” as twelve startup teams walked across the stage. David Tisch introduced the first startup, announcing that 1200 companies applied to the program, out of which 12 were selected, comprising of 31 entrepreneurs. 25 New York-based investors have given money, and he expected more capital to be raised.
One by one, each company gave an excellent and brief presentation on their product. In the middle of the program, Mayor Bloomberg made a surprise appearance, applauding the New York startup scene, and joked that the Bloomberg Techstars TV reality show is New York’s answer to “Jersey Shore.”
After the panels, the Bloomberg empowered entrepreneur conference (BEEC) begin its panels session with an opening by Matt Miller.
Panel sessions were quick and engaging, covering topics from angel investments, hiring for talent, flash sales and exit strategies, among others. The crowd, both in-person and offline, were encouraged to submit questions, and Matt Miller plucked the most popular ones for consideration. Speakers included familiar faces from earlier that day at Techstars Demo, such as David Tisch, Roger Ehrenberg and Brad Feld. The impressive spread also covered Jen Bekman, Naveen Selvadurai, Alexa von Tobel and Jennifer Hyman.
In between the panels were short interviews of startups that were going to be featured in the Techstars Finale. The interviews were done by David Tisch, Managing Director – NYC, Techstars, and the interviewees included: Lee Hoffman, Founder and CEO, Veri; Caren Maio, CEO and Co-Founder, Nestio; Jason Baptiste, Co-Founder and CEO, OnSwipe; Reece Pacheco, Founder and CEO, Shelby.tv. All discussed the challenges they had faced throughout the season (including doubts by mentors of their development/success) and how Techstars helped them regroup and succeed with their product. Below is a list of the panels that were presented, with notes.