The Lerer Ventures family is growing! Formerly just Kenny Lerer, Eric Hippeau, Ben Lerer, his buddy Jordan Cooper and their entrepreneur-in-residence Christopher Poole, the fund announced about a month ago a new $25 million seed fund and started recruiting for venture capitalists. Today the fund announced its first hire since the new fund: Steve Schlafman, natural business development hustler, former director of investments at the Kraft Group, former StickyBits employee and Startup Bus veteran, is joining as a principal investor.
Mr. Schlafman is enthralled with the start-up scene of New York! “After spending the last twelve months entrenched in the NYC tech community, I’m now convinced that we are witnessing a tech renaissance–and in less than a decade, the tech industry will certainly be as influential (if not more) than any other sector in NYC,” he wrote in a guest post on Mr. Cooper’s blog.
Why not go back to StickyBits now that it’s blowing up? Betabeat asked, thinking that the virally popular site could surely use some business development.
“I’m a small investor in Sticky/Turntable so my relationship with those guys is still intact and very positive,” he wrote in an email. “That said, I have ADD so I thought going back to venture was better suited for me.”
The Bostonian listed nine reasons why he’s bullish on New York:
1. Talent. “For the very first time, the creatives in NYC are shifting their focus to digital.”
2. Co-working spaces. “Helping entrepreneurs get their business off the ground and get plugged into an instant network.”
3. Meetups. “Meetups are critical to our ecosystem because they physically connect the community, facilitate new relationships, foster collaboration and encourage discussion.”
4. Hackathons. “These are essential to any thriving tech community because they provide developers and designers with an opportunity to improve and showcase their skills, build and test new products / ideas, and meet other members of the community.”
5. Strategic partners. “NYC has a treasure trove of strategic partners including large financial institutions, advertising agencies, and media companies.”
6. Users – “NYC has the largest population and highest population density of any city in the US by more than a factor of 2.”
7. Government support. “Mayor Bloomberg’s office has made a commitment to the local tech industry.”
8. Breakout companies. “The city now has more than a dozen breakout companies such as FourSquare, Etsy, BuddyMedia, Tumblr, Gilt Groupe, and Kickstarter. And there are some super innovative newcomers like Turntable.fm, Skillshare, GroupMe, Lot18, Canvas and Kohort.”
9. Venture capital. “It might be the best time since the 90s to raise money as an entrepreneur.”
“I’m most stoked to join Lerer Ventures because the team is first class. Everyone here has built, operated, sold and invested in start-ups. And each person has a high degree of intellectual horsepower and a strong moral compass,” he said. “Additionally, the firm has expertise in media and entertainment, technology, publishing, e-commerce, and finance, which aligns with my experience.”