Interview with NY Tech Day’s John Petersen

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!

  1. I’ll be at NY TechDay. Connect me with anyone that’s going. I’ll make sure to get photos, blog about participating companies, and help them make a splash in NYC.

    Go Red Sox.

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