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Not sure whether it was our mutual taste for local Colorado brews or our equal animosity towards each other’s home baseball teams — actually, it was definitely the ATL vs. NYC rap battle in the back of the bus during week one of TechStars Boulder with team SalesLoft. Regardless, we hit it off with biz-dev extraordinaire and Yankee-lover, John Petersen during our time in Boulder.

John is a good man doing note-worthy things in the Big Apple.

ny tech day

He, along with Alec Hartman, have built a one-day dynamo of an event call NY Tech Day and they want Atlanta companies to participate. NY Tech Day is a massive science fair for entrepreneurs to exhibit their startups to thousands of consumers, investors, first adopters, job-seekers, major companies, press and media.

We caught up with John to hear more about NY Tech Day

ATL: How did you come up with the idea?

NY: Startups are hard. Most of the time, you are totally heads down in your office working on the next big thing. We wanted to create an event specifically focused on giving the spotlight to these startups — giving them the ability to show off all the cool things they are building. The more we talked to our friends in the startup community, the more we realized that we had to make this happen.

ATL: Why has it taken off?

NY: This year, we’re expecting 450+ startups and 10,000 attendees. One of our main goals was to keep the event as open as possible, and the tech community really rallied behind the idea. We made it free to attend and we kept the price for startups to exhibit incredibly low. NY Tech Day isn’t about who has the biggest marketing budget — it’s about giving startups of all shapes and sizes the resources they need to grow.

ATL: What makes y’all different than all of the other demo days?

NY: NY Tech Day isn’t a demo day at all. We modeled the event after a science fair. You get a booth and you talk about whatever is most important to you. For some startups, they’re mostly interested in raising money. Others are looking to get some press and help to get the word out. Some are just looking to recruit the best talent. We focus all our efforts on bringing these resources under one roof to connect with our exhibiting startups.

ATL: What’s the make up of companies on the floor?

NY: It’s all over the map — literally. We have exhibiting startups of all shapes and sizes — from companies launching at the event all the way up to some of the biggest, most well-known startups and then everything in-between. Last year, our startups were mostly from the East Coast, but our furtherest was from Ireland!

ATL: Do Atlanta companies get a dirty south hookup?

NY: You mean the @jonnybird special? Of course! I’d love to put together an Atlanta Tech section as I know there’s a lot of great stuff going on down there nowadays. We could certainly do some fun stuff to promote the ATL tech scene.

ATL: If Chipper Jones had a startup, would his fee be waved?

NY: Absolutely not. That’s the beauty of Tech Day. All exhibiting startups pay the same nominal rate for a booth. You’d be on the floor right next to Chipper!

What’s the future of NYTechDay?

Last year was the inaugural NY Tech Day. We had 200 startups and 4,500 attendees. This year, our venue is over triple the size and we’ll have over twice the number of startups and attendees as last year. In order to achieve hockey stick growth in true startup fashion, we’ll need to get 40,000 startups and a couple million people. We’re gonna need a big venue 🙂

ATL: You’re a biz dev guy, what can you guarantee an Atlanta would get for going up to NYTechDay?

NY: Unlimited high-fives and a Biggie vs. Outkast rap-off at the after party!! Based on last year’s event, you can expect a massive amount of press coverage, VCs, angels, advisors, mentors, developers, designers, students, job seekers, early adopters and an overall amazing day filled with startup goodness.

ATL: Hank Aaron was the greatest Atlanta Brave, right?

NY: Gotta tip the cap to the Hammer. One of the best to play the game for any team. Distant seconds would be Bobby Cox and John Rocker.

Thanks John!

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Cranking this out during Jeopardy so pardon any misspellings, sentence fragments, and you know, anything else that drove your English teacher crazy.

More importantly, we have some unbelievable companies presenting at this month’s Atlanta Startup Village…you won’t want to miss this. We’ve got hardware, software, b2b, b2c…it’s going to be a rocking time.

Wait. Before we get to the steak and potatoes, first get a sense of the sizzle and wander over to the Atlanta Startup Village MeetUp to see the 120+ other startup enthusiasts wanting to learn from some of Atlanta’s finest startups.

Now…

Announcing the 5 presenting companies:

This company just raised $500K from local fund, Hamilton Ventures. Welcome to Atlanta Startup Village #6 Ten Eight App!

When not writing his fantastic blog, Rocket Forge (great name), Michael Mealling is building Pipefish. Welcome!

Hardware, software, they got it all. Monitors trap data and pesticide records is just the tip of the iceberg. Welcome to Atlanta Startup Village #6, Spensa Technologies!

One of Atlanta’s standard bearers in the B2C world, definitely one of the coolest startups in the A, welcome to Atlanta Startup Village #6, Huge City.

Agency here, agency there, this company helps you find an agency anywhere. Welcome to Atlanta Startup Village #6, Agency Spotter!

Many of you know the format but for new readers here are the details:

– Where: NEW VENUE: Atlanta Tech Village – at the corner of Lenox Road and Piedmont. FREE Parking and free fiber WiFi! You read it right!
– Who: Anybody and everybody who wants to learn about the Atlanta Startup Community, be nice, and pay it forward.
– When: Tuesday, March 26th at 7:00 o’clock on the dot, in the drop top cruising the street…
– What: Atlanta Startup Village: We’ll have some beer and some food.

Sponsors:

Cresa Atlanta is helping with the beer! Thank you!
TiE Atlanta and Ashish Thakur are bringing some Indian food to the party.
Michael Mealling of Pipefish is helping with the beer as well. May you be blessed as well!
Atlanta Tech Village is tooooo kind to host this event for free.
Hypepotamus is an eternal sponsor…as always.

Atlanta Startup Village is co-hosted by Chris Beauregard of MailChimp and Jon Birdsong of WideAngle – 1 on 1 Meeting software, in coordination with the amazing staff of the Atlanta Tech Village.

See y’all there. It’s going more fun than a day at Six Flags.

Yesterday, the journey of building Rivalry took me 2 hours north on I85 to the city of Greenville, South Carolina. This trip was spawned by a serendipitous relationship from the Atlanta Tech Village.

Successful entrepreneur, Damien Stevens literally walked into my office as he visited the Atlanta Tech Village from Greenville this past January morning to talk sales process management. Damien is building disaster recovery software for MSPs and IT resellers called Servosity — they’re growing fast and hiring 30+ people this year.

I had no idea what to expect cruising up 85 and I couldn’t have been more surprised at what I found.

Brief History of Greenville, South Carolina

In 1917, Greenville, South Carolina was known as the “Textile Center of the World.”

Entrepreneurs, like Max Heller, helped build the city into a booming economy after the war, outfitting much of the South in quality shirts, pants, and more.

Read more about Greenville’s history here. 

Greenville_entrepreneur

“NEXT: The most advanced mixture of entrepreneurs, government, big business, and technology accelerators in one building.” 

That’s my quote above, not anyone from Greenville.

The ride was nice and I rolled into Greenville, SC around 10 a.m.. Took a quick right off their perimeter and faced the NEXT building: below is a picture of it a night.

next

This is more how I saw it:

Next_Greenville_South_Carolina

It was a great vibe.

I walked in, and it was no different than any other buzzing tech hub. Everyone was very kind and the companies are all in there humming away on product and distribution.

The Background of NEXT

NEXT is the brainchild of the community. The Greenville Chamber of Commerce helped organized all the entrepreneurs starting in 2006 and titled the program “NEXT.” They met once a month to talk shop and strategy. They realized, what they really wanted was to work around each other. With the help of an adventurous commercial real-estate developer and an old-warehouse, NEXT Innovation Center was built. There is an office in NEXT that has someone from the Chamber of Commerce in there everyday.

How NEXT Works:

Offering entrepreneurs spaces to build companies. There are many types of working facilities in NEXT.

Co-working: where you can come in and share a desk with other co-workers.
Rent a desk: there are about 8 different cubes that you can rent a month (pictured below).
greenville cubes
Small office space: on the lower floors there was enclosed office space for 2-5 people.

Small office space.

Full Spaces for 30+ people companies: these are the big companies on the 2 floor. Damien and Servosity just moved up to the 2 floor with into the office space picture below:

servosity office

The offices are great but having a few rooms with wii, ping pong, and more make it much more relaxed and comfortable.

Accelerators: The Iron Yard

The Iron Yard is part of the global accelerator network. They just had their first cohort last year. The pictures below are of the space:

Here is the meeting area for gatherings and speakers.

the iron yard

Here are some teams from the last year’s accelerator working on their company.

storm trooper

Storm trooper with a mustache? Nice touch!

Big Business and Startups:

Not only does NEXT have a startup accelerator, flexibility for company growth, a Chamber of Commerce representative on staff, but they also have a representative from Michelin Tires in the office sourcing deals and making anywhere to $50k-$100k investments. Wow.

Michelin_Development

The Benefits of Startup Community Network Effects 

Greenville is scrappy. They’ve consolidated some of their greatest resources in one building and it’s something to admire.

As their startup community grows, making strong connections with them will help the Atlanta Startup Community – whether it’s through services, customers, or brain-share. The folks in Greenville are definitely folks we want to embrace and know better.

I recommend next time you’re in Greenville, to stop by and drop into the NEXT Innovation Center.