Dispatches

Hoboken Tech Meetup Is Now New Jersey Tech Meetup, Boasts 1,500 Members

It's often compared to New York Tech Meetup, but the Jersey group is doing its own thing.
 Hoboken Tech Meetup Is Now New Jersey Tech Meetup, Boasts 1,500 Members

(Danny Chong)

The New Jersey Tech Meetup (formerly the Hoboken Tech Meetup) had been a sleeper success; a smaller venue where new startups could demo before their big Skirball debut at the much larger New York Tech Meetup. But the meetup, run by DFJ Gotham entrepreneur in residence Aaron Price, has been growing steadily and recently hit 1,500 members, adding about 100 members a month for the last six months. It’s now the largest tech organization in New Jersey, Mr. Price said.

The NJTM has little in common with that mothership of tech meetups, the 21,000-some member New York Tech Meetup. In Hoboken, the meetup starts with speed dating style networking. Then from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Mr. Price is very precise when it comes to time, and publicly shames those who RSVP but don’t show up), three startups demo for around 100 or so people who then vote on their favorites. The meetup rounds out with a featured speaker and question and answer session, after which attendees decamp to a nearby bar for beer and wings.

It’s not changed much since Betabeat braved the PATH out to Hoboken almost a year ago; it’s just bigger. Although Mr. Price might want to be cautious about growth; intimacy is one of the advantages of the Jersey meetup over NYTM, members said.

Now the meetup is pulling in some attendees, including venture capitalists, who want to meet some new startups outside the Silicon Alley-General Assembly-NYTM bubble, Mr. Price said in a phone call yesterday.

The last meetup featured two fairly well-known startups: Mark Davis’s Kohort and the Y Combinator graduate Tutorspree, as well as something called DinnerDateDeal. Joy Marcus, a venture partner at DFJ Gotham, was the speaker. “Amazing time at last night’s @njtechme! 150+, standing room only,” Mr. Price tweeted after the event.

The next goal is to get Senator Robert Menendez, who was made aware of the group after NJTM organized its own emergency SOPA/PIPA rally, to speak at the event.

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