May 2018 Newsletter: Stand Up For Immigrant Entrepreneurs

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

For generations, the American economy has benefited from the ingenuity and industry of immigrants who chose to start businesses here. Many iconic American companies, from Procter & Gamble and Pfizer in the 19th century to Google and WeWork more recently, and companies like AppNexus, Oscar, Sprinklr, and Warby Parker right here in New York were founded, in whole or in part, by immigrants. And NYC VC firms like Expa are made up of immigrant entrepreneurs who are now funding the next generation of startups.

This is why so many—and especially those in the technology industry—support real immigration reform that would make it easier for, among other things, high-skilled and entrepreneurial workers to come to this nation to build companies, create jobs, and grow new technologies.

It’s also why we were so disappointed to see the Trump Administration essentially admit that it doesn’t value the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs on Tuesday, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially proposed to rescind the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). The IER provides temporary visas for foreign nationals who have raised at least $250,000 from U.S. investors, with extensions dependent on their startups demonstrating growth. It’s an obvious way to attract top talent from around the world and to create more jobs here in NYC and across the United States.

It’s maddening that such a common-sense policy fix would fail. We encourage those of you who, like us, find yourselves angry and discouraged to take a few minutes and submit official comments into the Federal Record, urging our government to get it right.


What We’re Up To

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Last week, we released a survey we completed with Accenture that shows, among other things, that 80 percent of respondents (all Tech:NYC members) plan to hire new tech talent in 2018, with more than half planning to increase their workforce by 20 percent or more. “For a long time, if you worked in tech, there were forces pushing you to the West Coast. But now, if you're interested in the things New York has to offer, there is plenty of opportunity here,” Julie Samuels told Crain’s New York about the results of survey.

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Our community cares deeply about the state of public transit in NYC, because it so fundamentally relies on a well-functioning subway and bus system. Tech:NYC took part in an event last Thursday with Andy Byford, the new president of NYC Transit, which released an ambitious Fast Forward plan. The plan proposes making dramatic and necessary fixes to our subway and bus systems over the next 10 years.

On a related note, we are trying to better understand how the upcoming L train shutdown will impact NYC tech companies. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete the survey and will help us be better advocates in the months ahead.

Policy Developments

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Earlier this month, the Senate voted to save net neutrality. But the battle for the free and open internet is far from over, and New York is proud to continue leading the fight. Our membership worked alongside New York leaders like Sen. Chuck Schumer to keep pressure on. Now we take the fight to the House!

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) officially went into effect last Friday, prompting a flood of privacy-focused emails into our inboxes. By now, most (if not all) New York companies with European customers have already changed their privacy policies. But many startups in our ecosystem don’t have European customers yet, so we’ve published a policy brief that explains what GDPR is, how it affects New York companies, and what to look for in the U.S. when it comes to new data privacy regulations.

Earlier this month, the city announced the formation of the Automated Decision Systems Task Force, which will explore how New York City uses algorithms. The group will develop a process for reviewing algorithms through the lens of equity, fairness, and accountability. Tech:NYC Executive Director Julie Samuels will be part of task force, the first of its kind in the U.S.

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New York City announced a new dockless bike-sharing pilot this summer, which will bring 200 dockless bikes to the Rockaways, Coney Island, the Central Bronx, and on the North Shore of Staten Island. A dozen bike-sharing companies will take part in the pilot.

NYC Tech Community Events

June 6-8: Our members Cheddar, Future/Perfect Ventures, Pymetrics, Union Square Ventures, and more will be speaking at the 2018 Northside Innovation Festival in Brooklyn. Register here.

June 7: NYCx, a program in the Mayor's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, will host Accelerator Office Hours and panel discussions focused on inclusive entrepreneurship at Northside Festival from 2:30 pm - 7:00 pm. Register here.

June 7-8: Since 2004, the Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) has helped nurture a conversation about technology’s impact on government, politics, and media. PDF 2018 will include speakers from Elucd, Microsoft, FWD.Us, Alliance for Youth Action, Democracy Works, and Use the code “TECHNYC295” for $100 off tickets.

June 11: Tech:NYC Executive Director Julie Samuels will moderate a panel with four top New York female entrepreneurs at the Crain’s Women’s Entrepreneurs Forum. The panel includes Celmatix Founder & CEO Piraye Yurttas Beim; LOLA Co-Founder Jordana Kier; MM.LaFleur Founder & CEO Sarah LaFleur; and Chronicled Co-Founder & CMO Samantha Radocchia. Use the code “Techfem2018” for 40% off.

June 12: The final CornellTech@Bloomberg event of the season will feature Irving Fain, co-founder and CEO of Bowery Farming, in conversation with Scarlet Fu of Bloomberg Television. Irving co-founded Bowery Farming to address the question of how technology can help feed a growing population with local produce in a world where water scarcity is increasingly a threat. Register here.

June 19: Tech:NYC Executive Director Julie Samuels will be speaking on a panel at Making New York Count: What's At Stake and How to Prepare for Census 2020, a conference bringing together a broad set of stakeholders from across the state to discuss the impact of the upcoming census. Register here.

June 19: The Tech Jobs Tour will bring together diverse and non-traditional talent with companies who need their skills the most. The tour will showcase top tech talent who are changing the world, who happen to be women, people of color, LGBTQ, veterans and people with disabilities. Our members Oath, Automattic, and WeWork will all be there. Register here.

June 27: The third edition of Tech Inclusion New York will convene the tech industry to focus on new solutions to diversity. The theme this year is “Voices of Innovation” – featuring diverse, underrepresented voices building the innovative technologies and cultures of our future. Use the code “TInytechnyc20” for 20% off.

July 10-11: The eighth annual New York Venture Capital Summit will let you connect with and hear talks from more than 130 top VCs, including Future\Perfect Ventures’ Jalak Jobanputra, SoGal Ventures’ Elizabeth Galbut, and Salesforce Ventures’ Meredith Finn. Use the code “TECHNYCVIP” for 10% off.

Welcome to Tech:NYC

  • CLEAR: Makes it easier and faster to go through airport security by using biometrics and technology.

  • Guerilla Science: Connecting people with science in new ways, and producing live experiences that entertain, inspire, challenge, and amaze.

  • Harry’s: Allows people to buy high-quality razors, German-engineered blades, and shaving cream.

  • Jump Bikes: Jump creates dockless electric bikes that take you farther, get there faster, and make every ride more fun.

  • Keyo: A modern way to find and rent apartments on-demand, without paying a fee.

  • LiquidSky: The platform for streaming interactive experiences.

  • ofo North America: ofo is a station-free bicycle-sharing platform that was created for sharing and aims to unlock every corner of the world by making bikes accessible to everyone.

  • OpenLaw: The next generation of smart legal agreements.

  • RETIRETY: Gives you the retirement help you need with personalized planning and advice.

  • SeeBeNow Technologies: Helps people experience more connection to their mind, body and self through practices and discussions, both online and offline.

  • Strategy DNA: Enables enterprises and individual leaders to formulate, plan for, and fulfill their strategic visions

  • Thinx: Period-proof underwear that works.

  • We3 Real Estate: Offers a New York City real estate data and analytics platform, which aggregates and enriches content gathered from multiple sources to present a complete and accurate view of the city’s real estate market.

  • Wellthy: Your modern healthcare concierge, seamlessly human and tech powered.

Join Us

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.

Photo credit: Statue of Liberty from Shutterstock/ImAliocha
Photo credit: Concept of artificial intelligence brain from Shutterstock/Aniwhite