Photo: We Are NY Tech
Jacob Brody was a paralegal, a journalist, and the founder of Standard Start, his non-profit.Now he works for MESA, a digital and media investment bank, as Head of Business and Community Development. He’s their man on the startup scene.
He spends his days rubbing elbows with the best and brightest entrepreneurs there are.
We caught up with Brody over the phone to see what’s going on in the tech scene.
BUSINESS INSIDER: What are you doing for MESA?
JACOB BRODY: I’m basically a corporate yenta for startups. I help them meet the right people, whether its PR, biz dev, whatever. I help out however I can because I understand how tough it is to be an entrepreneur. My job is to lift the velvet rope for great entrepreneurs and get them in.
We love the innovation that’s happening in New York, so MESA’s trying to connect these innovators with potential customers, potential partners, and make introductions to angel investors. Just be helpful. MESA saw that I was seeing the right types of companies early, so they made what I obviously think was a good choice to bring me on.
BI: What kinds of mistakes do you notice are common among early startups?
JB: People are quitting their jobs for what should be side projects. I love finding a great microbrew at my favourite bar, but how many of these are really making money? How many of these are really turning into businesses? People are quitting their jobs for startups like this. that are maybe cool apps that make a couple thousand dollars or get a lot of downloads. It’s cool as a marketing thing, but it’s not a business. That’s what I’m seeing a lot of. But I’m also seeing a lot of great startups out there. People are doing things that absolutely floor me.
BI: What autobiographical details make you the right guy for MESA?
JB: I grew up in New York, I spent time getting to know the digital and startup industry, I have a great network in the early stage community and also in the corporate community. One of the things that I did was Standard Start, my non-profit. I introduced a lot of people to lawyers that they ended up using for their companies. With this, I’m getting companies at the earliest stages, and the people who are dealmakers in New York, I’m doing referrals for them. Eventually these are people I’ll reconnect with in terms of business.
BI: What business areas have really caught your eye?
JB: I’m really excited about data visualisation. I think that a lot of data businesses right now just export to a spreadsheet or a CSV. You have all these people from finance, from marketing, from all diferent places, who are totally over data. I think there are going to be a lot of really cool startups in the data visualisation area because it’s much easier to understand and act on if it’s presented in the right way.
BI: Why MESA?
JB: Sometimes people in the startup world are put off by investment bankers, but I think MESA is taking a different approach. By hiring me, we’re saying, “We understand you can’t afford to pay us early on. But what we can do is help you out, and when it comes time to raise or someone is looking to acquire you, these are the times when we can be very helpful. And that’s where we make our money.” We’ll have that relationship. And that’s not something that other banks are doing.
We’re already planning a bunch of events to share our expertise with the startup community. In the coming months, you’re going to see MESA do a lot of things that are going to be very helpful to entrepreneurs.
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