“Foursqure, foursquare, foursquare,” declared Volker Detering, founder and president of EventMe! “If I never hear about the company again it will be too soon.”
Pausing, he reconsidered. “Ok, Dennis is a nice guy, and very smart, but I can’t stand to see another photo of him at a party. That’s not tech.”
Detering was up on the third floor of Connolly’s on West 45th for a party himself, the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator happy hour.
“I don’t really know when a start-up stops being a start-up. I’ve been running my business for a decade, still sometimes people call us a start-up. I don’t.” Detering launched Event in September 1999, just six months before the dot-com bubble burst. “We survived by the skin of our teeth. That’s what I want to see, more bootstrapped, more lean start-ups, not just folks raising millions.”
The ER Accelerator is one of many programs set to turn New York into start-up summer camp, providing fledgling companies with $25,000 in seed funding in exchange for a small equity stake. “I’m profitable now, I’m married and so is my business partner,” said Detering, gazing around the room at the gaggle of twenty-something founders. “Can a start-up be your midlife crisis?”
While the ER happy hour was going on in Midtown, TechStars NY was holding a happy hour for their summer program down in Union Square. “I mean, you’ve got to consider the whole transplant versus native thing,” said Jonathan Betz, VP of engineering at Yext, and an ER Accelerator mentor. “Having roots in the city is valuable, even if they are more high profile.”
Betz is a principle at Hudson River Angels, a band of Google and Xoogle engineers looking to leverage their expertise to help grow their portfolio companies. More recently he also began to try his hand at the online upstart creating waves in the seed stage community. “I joined Angel List, of course,” he admitted with a smile. “So far funded one venture through that. It really makes me feel like a conservative, watching this river of companies go by and deciding: no, no, no.”
The investment Betz did make was in a company where he knew and had worked with members of the team. “I was at a startup in the dot-com days. I watched the rocket ships take off and come crashing back to earth. There were a ton of great ideas then that never got executed. I think investors today care less about ideas than they do about execution.”