Hosting an Attorney General Forum to Encourage Dialogue, Improve Our Future

In a year with so many crucial elections, there’s no race New York’s tech community can afford to ignore. This is especially true of our state’s attorney general opening, which has a number of highly qualified candidates vying for office. While it might sound surprising, the AG can play a crucial role when it comes to the tech industry - making it vital we know all the candidates’ positions. 

Last night we made an effort to do that, hosting a first-of-its-kind tech forum for the candidates with Axios and WeWork. Held at WeWork’s Bryant Park building in Manhattan, we gave four candidates (Tish James, Zephyr Teachout, Sean Patrick Maloney, and Leecia Eve) a unique chance to share their views and talk with voters. With questions from Axios’ Mike Allen and over a hundred Tech:NYC and WeWork members in attendance, the forum (linked here) flowed like an interactive conversation — which was exactly the point. 

NY AG Candidate Forum

The candidates addressed a range of topics, spanning federal and local importance. In the case of the former, speakers mostly focused on Washington’s repeal of net neutrality and the consequences of that decision going forward. On the latter, they talked about everything from creating a more inclusive economy to the New York City Council’s recently passed cap on rideshare companies. The specifics of what each candidate said have been reported elsewhere, but all-in-all it was a thorough and productive discussion.

While the viewpoints of each candidate matter, most important is the sheer fact that this conversation happened. The AG carries a lot of influence on New York’s tech scene. From patent law to regulatory precedent, the AG plays a major role deciding the tone and scope of our state’s tech policy. This significance will only increase down the road, putting the AG in a powerful position to determine how much we grow or stagnate. For that reason, dialogue is necessary, and local startups need several tools to interact with the person who’ll make decisions that affect them. 

A candidate forum is one such tool, but there’s still more to be done. As New York tech continues to boom, it’ll become increasingly important for our community to be on the same page as elected officials. With increased growth, lawmakers will aim to pass regulations and promote economic fairness, while tech companies will be focused on creating new innovations and making societal contributions. For these goals to align, each side needs to be engaged with the other, making it vital to have more town halls, meetings, hearings, and exchanges of ideas.

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We thank the candidates, along with Axios and WeWork, for helping make this happen. Events like last night’s aren’t just good opportunities for the tech sector. They are signs of a healthy democracy, and we are already thinking about future forums. We will continue to keep a close eye on this race, and encourage the tech community to keep getting involved with the democratic process. 

 

Photo credit: Trey Bohn for WeWork

Tech:NYC Statement on City Council Ridesharing Bills Passage

Tech:NYC Executive Director Julie Samuels released this statement today after the New York City Council passed legislation to put a cap on ridesharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via:

“Today’s vote is both a step backward for New York and a bad sign for our local tech ecosystem. While there’s no doubt City Council means well with this legislation, the truth is it’s a misguided solution that’ll create more problems than benefits. Everyone wants to reduce congestion, protect drivers, and create safer streets. But there’s little evidence a rideshare cap will do that. Instead, what New Yorkers can expect are increased costs for transportation, a shortage of vehicles in the outer-boroughs, and the entrenchment of an industry that thrives with greater competition. All of this will slow down our city, and sends a signal to tech companies that New York is not open to innovation.”

-Julie Samuels, Executive Director, Tech:NYC

Photo credit: Cars driving in Brooklyn by Nick Starichenko/Shutterstock

July 2018 Newsletter: Here We Go Again. City Council Goes After Ridesharing.

This is the July 2018 edition of the Tech:NYC newsletter. If you're not already getting this in your inbox, sign up now.

Next week, the New York City Council will vote on legislation to further regulate the ridesharing industry. The proposed legislation has some smart ideas, like ensuring that drivers earn a livable wage and that there are fewer underutilized vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, it also has some really bad ideas, ones that would harm New Yorkers in areas underserved by existing transportation options, not to mention the growing NYC companies that have helped fill our city’s transportation gaps.

Specifically, the proposal would set an arbitrary cap on new cars on the road for the next year. At the end of that year, it would defer to the Taxi and Limousine Commission to decide how many new cars could get on the road. In other words, instead of working with the companies who have built state-of-the-art technology to understand how to best meet riders’ needs, the Council is attempting to regulate the old-fashioned way, an approach they have used for generations when it comes to taxis. Regulating this way deprived a number of communities of adequate transportation. It is a mistake our city’s legislators would be wise not to repeat.

This is not to say that for-hire vehicles on the road shouldn’t be regulated. They should. And it’s not to say that there shouldn’t be a system in place that protects taxi, livery, and ridesharing drivers. There should. It is to say that instead of looking to new technologies to better meet the needs of New Yorkers, the current proposal before the Council does the opposite. The proposal relies on antiquated regulatory tools, imposing an across-the-board cap without reasonable exceptions for pooled rides or electric vehicles. The proposal fails to engage key stakeholders in finding a path forward that makes the most sense for the most New Yorkers: those who rely on Ubers and Lyfts and Vias to get around, those who drive for a living, and those who worry about congestion.

The bill comes to a vote next week. We hope the Council will reconsider before then.

Julie

WHAT WE'RE UP TO

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Earlier this month, we released our second annual report. In it, you can read about our biggest moments from the last year and accomplishments from our diverse membership. We hosted more than 50 events; fought hard in NYC, Albany, and Washington, D.C. on issues like computer science education, immigration, and net neutrality; and celebrated big tech wins that show how quickly our ecosystem is growing. Read it now.

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Last week, we celebrated National Intern Day, founded by our member WayUp, with four legal interns from our member companies. We asked our four New York interns a few fun questions about their work, their favorite things to do in NYC, and more.

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Tech:NYC is looking for a Communications and Marketing Director to join our growing team. Apply now or share the listing with someone you know!

GET INVOLVED

Don’t miss the deadline to register to vote in New York’s next big primary, which takes place Thursday, September 13. Applications to register to vote in the primary must be postmarked no later than August 19 and received by a board of elections no later than August 24 to be eligible to vote. Register by mail or online if you have a DMV-issued photo ID.


The NYC Administration for Children’s Service (ACS) has released three Requests for Information (RFIs) for technology platforms they would like to build to improve the foster care experience for young people, families, foster parents, and those who support them. To learn more about the RFI’s, please click here. If you wish to submit a response to a RFI, please contact AdminContractsRFI@acs.nyc.gov by Friday, August 17, 2018 at 5:00pm.

NYC TECH COMMUNITY EVENTS

August 7: Join the NY Tech Alliance for the August 2018 New York Tech Meetup at the American Museum of Natural History. The event will showcase apps and solutions from the AMNH’s BridgeUp STEM hackathon, which challenged participants to create tools and build solutions to real problems in scientific education, communication, and research. Register now.

August 11: Join Silicon Harlem, iHeartMedia, and the Armory Foundation for Fortnite in the Heights, a half-day gaming tournament designed to combine gaming, technology, and health for an experience into the booming world of e-sports. Winners get access to a $10,000 prize pool. Get tickets here.

September 5: Save the date for our next CornellTech@Bloomberg event. Keep an eye on Tech at Bloomberg on Twitter for the full announcement!

WELCOME TO TECH:NYC

  • Aleria: Take the guesswork out of diversity and inclusion.
  • Apteo: We build AI solutions for financial markets.
  • ARTA: Enable sellers and empower buyers by bringing efficiency and transparency to the world of high-end, specialized logistics.
  • Blockchain Educators: Offers a variety of online and in person blockchain education courses.  
  • Catalyst: An app that helps you reduce churn, drive product adoption, and keep your customers engaged.
  • DataDisrupt: The premier conference for the financial services data analytics ecosystem.
  • Heli: An athlete-driven community connecting skiers and operators.
  • HOST: A zero-emission transportation company that offers New Yorkers a fun new way to move locally.
  • Inspired: A digital marketing platform that can help you reach, engage and manage your customers.
  • Jetson AI: A conversational AI platform built for brands.
  • Journy: A modern travel concierge service that makes it easy for people to see and taste the best of a city.
  • Maven: A digital clinic empowering women with expert, convenient, and compassionate healthcare.
  • Meritas Technology: A finance platform tailored to students interested in equity investing.
  • Po.et: The Decentralized Protocol for content ownership, discovery, and monetization in media.
  • R1 Labs: Innovation event strategy and network acceleration.
  • Skedaddle: A travel technology company that connects communities and transports people to events and destinations on chartered buses.
  • Sweep: A sports gaming bot to help you pick sports games.
  • The Lobby: A marketplace where job candidates can instantly get mock interviews, resume reviews, and insights from company insiders, starting with the finance industry.
  • Trail of Bits: Combine high-end security research with a real-world attacker mentality to reduce risk and fortify code.
  • TUSHY: A bidet attachment and instant life upgrade that installs in just minutes with no extra electricity or plumbing.
  • Visit.org: A platform for travel activities with a cause, including immersive day experiences hosted by local "do-good" organizations.

JOIN TECH:NYC

We want your company to be a member of Tech:NYC! Sign up at our membership page, and let us know if you have any questions.

 

Brooklyn, NY by BravoKiloVideo / Shutterstock.com