January Newsletter: Getting to Work

This is the January 2019 edition of the Tech:NYC newsletter. If you're not already getting this in your inbox, sign up now.

Happy 2019! We’re off to a busy start here at Tech:NYC, meeting new state legislators and following the (atypical) flurry of state legislative activity, tracking and testifying on legislation at the City Council, and setting in motion our policy priorities for the upcoming year.

Already this month, the state legislature has passed a series of voting reforms, taking an important step toward making our elections more fair. We are thrilled with this progress and look forward to working with the legislature to advance further reforms like automatic voter registration and ballot redesign. We have also been analyzing the Governor’s recently released budget proposal and are happy to see a provision that would institute congestion pricing. We delivered testimony to the State Legislature in support of congestion pricing, and I wrote more about why the tech sector is on board here. At the City Council, we testified on the shortcomings of a proposal to make after-hours communications by employers illegal, in support of measures to legalize e-scooter and e-bikes, and on a slate of bills impacting the ridesharing industry. And we’re looking forward to hosting City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on February 12 to talk about technology and the role it can play in improving our transit system.

As with everything we do, it’s not just about our organization, but our members. And our members are driving a booming startup ecosystem, which saw record growth in the past year, a trend we only expect will carry through the year to come. There are more stories of new companies serving customers — and each other — than we have space for here. That’s why, to kick off 2019 strong and keep the momentum going, we’re profiling five companies helping other companies get more work done, better. Preview their ideas below, and read more here about their plans for 2019.



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What does your company do?

Catalyst co-founder and CEO Edward Chiu: Catalyst is building the world’s most intuitive Customer Success platform to help customer success managers be more effective in their jobs.

You founded Catalyst because you were frustrated with the quality, but not quantity, of customer success tools on the market. When the to-do-list starts piling up over the holidays, what do you think is most important to focus on in the new year?

Our 2019 focus is to make every person in our company —whether they’re a sales person, engineer, designer, or product manager — know and understand the customer journey and constantly put themselves in the customer’s shoe. Catalyst engineers are watching our customers every move and are the most disappointed when they see a customer struggling within the product. That obsession is what’s going to make our entire company a Customer Success organization rather than just a department.

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What does your company do?

Trail of Bits co-founder and CEO Dan Guido: We’re a high-end security research and engineering firm that offers security research, custom security engineering, and security assessment services and tools. We specialize in low-level programming, close to the operating system. We’re particularly known for our expertise in Ethereum smart contract security, cryptography, binary analysis, and custom software development for security operations.

Why did you found your company in NYC?

DG: There’s no greater concentration of smart and interesting people whom I want to work with. New York has a huge base of people trying to solve challenging problems across many different industries — that's hard to say about any other city. Being surrounded by highly ambitious people from a variety of backgrounds helps surface new ideas.



What does your company do?

Agrilyst founder and CEO Allison Kopf: Agrilyst is a cultivation management system for greenhouse and indoor growers, managing plants, labor, and compliance in one place, digitally.

Last year, growers were most excited about the technological potential of automation. What trends are you most excited for in 2019?

AK: I’m excited about risk management, perhaps not the most glamorous topic in the world. We’ve been working with a partner to offer growers autonomous particle detection and alerting on potential pathogen risks. Growers lose about $72 billion annually due to crop disease. If we can help growers avoid this risk, not only does it help their margin directly, but it also reduces the risk to the end consumer.  



What does your company do?

Intello co-founder and CTO Shlomo Dalezman: Intello enables companies to properly scale their operation by building an intelligent end-to-end platform to purchase, manage, and optimize SaaS applications.

What advice do you have for students looking to found their own company, or even for veteran entrepreneurs looking for fresh insights?

SD: I think one of the key characteristics to being a great entrepreneur is curiosity —what, how, and why people, companies, and markets act in a certain way. That curiosity is a skill you can constantly flex and learn. It requires talking to customers and people in different industries/backgrounds and learning from them as much as possible. Maintaining that curiosity with an open mind that your assumptions can be wrong is the most important part.



What does your company do?

Lately co-founder and CEO Kate Bradley Chernis: Lately is an AI-powered dashboard that gives individuals the power to market themselves or their companies like a mega brand for a fraction of the team, time, and cost.

As you enter 2019, what’s a challenge you are expecting to encounter, and how are you preparing for it?

KBC: For 2019, right now (because I know this will change in a couple months or maybe less – startup life!) our greatest challenge is capitalizing off the momentum in front of us.We’ve got a whole new – and very large – base of customers and pipeline that are starting to use the product in both ways we originally imagined and in new ways. They are thinking big, and we need to catch up with them.



Fullstack Academy has relaunched their Web Development Fellowship made possible in partnership with the City of New York’s Tech Talent Pipeline. The fellowship offers a tuition-free coding education at its award-winning coding bootcamp to New York City residents earning an annual income of less than $50,000. Review the cohort dates and application deadlines here.

URBAN-X, an accelerator for startups reimagining city life is now accepting applications for its sixth cohort 06 — $100K/20 weeks and 1000 hours of world-class product development, engineering and design, all in preparation for fundraising. Learn more and apply here.

NYC Open Data and BetaNYC will present Open Data Week 2019, a week long event series across all five boroughs from March 2-9 to celebrate New York City’s Open Data Law. Stay tuned on more details here.

The Air Force is calling for submissions from start-ups as it seeks to rapidly invest up to $40 million at Air Force Pitch Day. Submissions are open to ideas furthering national security in air, space and cyberspace. The most promising candidates will be invited to pitch their ideas live to a team of Air Force experts, commercial investors and defense partners in New York City March 6. Find more details here.



February 12: Join Tech:NYC for a conversation with New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and other transit leaders to discuss how the tech sector and government can work together to improve New York’s transportation system. Register here.

February 12: Join us, with Cornell Tech and Bloomberg, for the next edition of the Cornell Tech @ Bloomberg speaker series, featuring New Lab CEO Shaun Stewart. Register here.

February 12: Join editors from The Economist and leaders from Venture Smarter for its third annual Investing for Impact event. Use code VENTURE15 to get 15% off tickets here.

February 20: Join the New York chapter of Products That Count, a monthly speaker series for product leaders, in conversation with Camilla Velasquez, SVP, Product and Marketing Strategy at Justworks. Get tickets here.

February 28: Join Betaworks Studios for the next edition of its “Ask Me Anything Live” series, featuring Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. Register here.


A warm welcome to our newest members:

  • Break The Love: An exclusive tennis membership app that lets you connect with other players, courts, and access to member only events.

  • CartSpark: E-commerce solutions platform built for B2B and wholesale.

  • Colorful Dots, LLC: custom software development services to the private and public sectors.

  • Glitch Inc: the friendly community where everyone can discover and create the best stuff on the web.

  • Naifu Inc: predictive technology software helps us to vastly enhance the strategy and creative functions.

  • Namu: digital financial services with a human touch.

  • Reset Digital: building transparency to the programmatic advertising sector.

  • SeniorHabitat: a free, online marketplace that uses smart algorithms and interactive tools to guide and connect family caregivers & older adults to their personalized care needs.

  • Tagomi: combines institutional-grade services with superior execution technology for trading digital assets and crypto.

  • Talk Hiring: a provider of free interview practice and feedback before your job interview.

  • TechDad: NYC-based tech integration, installation & support company.

  • Vigilant: a platform for public research monitoring and research.

  • Y Bird Airways: Revolutionizing building and facade inspections with robotics technology.


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

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.

State Capitol of New York by Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com