Startup Tips From Techweek NYC

Oct22

Aspiring entrepreneurs, digital media specialists, investors and all-around tech lovers gathered at 82 Mercer Street on October 17th for Techweek, the first to launch in New York City (it was originally founded in Chicago in 2011). This NYC edition was full of summits, workshops, the LAUNCH startup competition and fashion tech runway show.

It was great to see so many passionate people following their dreams and who are eager to become their own bosses—many of them students or recent graduates. So this was definitely an event to take notes if you’re thinking of starting your own company, not to mention a great opportunity to network like crazy. Here’s a quick list of some of the key points that I learned from spending the day surrounded by such innovative and inspirational people with contagious entrepreneurial spirits.

1. Collaborate.

A great way to get your company out there is to work with other like-minded businesses. Whether that may be through some special cross-promotions or creative partnerships, there are so many different ways to do this. Think outside the box. This is how you can set yourself apart. An awesome example of a company coming up with cool collaborations is  Warby Parker, the affordable and stylish eyewear company that also helps others (for every pair that is sold, a pair is given to someone in need). One of their most popular collaborations was with the Man of Steel movie franchise, bringing the iconic Clark Kent-style frames to life. They’ve also teamed up with Ghostly, The Standard Hotel, and Pencils of Promise just to name a few. Through these projects, they’ve been able to put themselves on the map and are becoming a go-to eyewear destination, both online and off.

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Tim Riley, Director of Online Experience at Warby Parker

2. Be open.

I think the best way to thrive in such an innovative environment is to have an open mind. Sure, you have this fantastic idea, but always remember that things can change quickly. Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Forbes said it best during his panel on making it in New York City, “Don’t get married to your idea, be open to redesign.” He wrote Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office, a book that takes a look into how the hip hop mogul took the business world by storm. Great ideas take time to develop and sometimes you have to go through quite a journey before reaching the final product—Jay-Z is no exception. Having an open mind makes this process much smoother.

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Kelly Reid (left) interviews Zack O’Malley Greenburg (right)

3. Build up a strong team.

Yes, you want to be independent, but everyone could use a solid support system. When starting up your own company, there’s a lot of planning (and stress) that goes into it, so it’s important to put together a reliable team of people you can depend on to help follow through with your vision. The co-founders of Hukkster, Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan, agree that “when you start your own thing, it’s constant pounding the pavement. When you have a team, it’s nice to have people helping you along the way.” Hukkster is a shopping app that aims to help customers find the best deals. They formed their team from a network they created and got references of people who would be fitting for the company.

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Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (centre) and Katie Finnegan (right)

For more info on Techweek, be sure to visit www.techweek.com

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