Last week I had the pleasure of attending a few of the morning sessions at the NYU 0260 (as in take your business from 0 to 60) Entrepreneurship Conference. The event was organized by Solidea Capital, and the brand new NYU Berkeley center for entrepreneurship. I’ve made a few jokes about the “illustrious” Stern undergraduate program at NYU. And, while we may have really high SAT scores versus other programs, there is a large problem in that the majority of students coming out of both the undergraduate and graduate programs seem to have blinders on with their focus being Wall Street banks. I’ve met dozens of people from Baruch, Fordham, and Columbia starting companies and close to zero from NYU. That upsets me because I’m very competitive and don’t want to lose out to other schools, and also because I know there is a very deep talent pool at NYU that simply isn’t pursuing startups.
That’s why I was excited when it was announced that the NY Tech meetup will now be held at NYU each month, and that there are programs like this week’s entrepreneurship conference being held at the school – and attracting large audiences. While the school has a long way to go, Firstmark Capital founder and NYU professor Larry Lenihan stated that he wants NYU to be the Stanford of the 21st century. That is a lofty goal. But, with the rapid expansion of the NY Tech scene, who knows?
NYU also recently merged with Poly, a technical school which broadens the University’s offerings and now enables undergrads to study engineering for the first time. Poly also started the first incubator in New York, and is taking applications for their Manhattan program now!
Overall, the conference itself was tremendous and featured many great speakers. In my opinion, it was a bit light on networking. But, I did get to meet a new friend, Rohit, who was also a Stern undergrad and now spends his time helping startups who want to raise money. Sounds like a lot of fun.
My hope is that the technical expertise of Poly and Courant are more and more matched with the increasingly creative and entrepreneurial Sternies (along with Tisch, Gallatin and the rest) to support a growing community within NYU that will no doubt spill into New York and the rest of the world. I also hope I can contribute to this success in one way or another. Very exciting.