On May 6, a coalition of private and city organizations introduced a group of 15 startups from Europe to the New York tech and investor community. The mission was to build local business connections for these companies and the event organizers say some of these entrepreneurs plan to relocate to the city. The event was part of a New York City Economic Development Corp. program to encourage investment and trade between New York and cities in Eastern and Central Europe. This initiative, called World to NYC, is an attempt to show entrepreneurs from around the globe what the city offers in terms of expansion opportunities.
VentureOutNY teamed with iCatapult and NYCEDC to present these startups to the city’s innovation and funding community. Brian Frumberg, entrepreneur-at-large with DFJ Gotham Ventures and a partner with iCatapult, is the founder of VentureOutNY, a nonprofit which promotes the city to startups from abroad that want to expand and establish operations in the United States. Some might question bringing these European startups initially to New York rather than Silicon Valley, but Imre Hild, the CEO of iCatapult says it was a simple business decision. “Many Hungarian startups are in ad-tech and fin-tech because that’s where most of their talent is coming from.” New York’s strengths in those industries, he says, made it a natural fit.
At the moment, Hild says, Hungarian tech companies do not have a deep presence in New York, but he hopes to change that. “This is a very international, very diverse startup community,” he says, “We can find our place and establish a home here.” Hild says the 15 companies who presented last night plan to relocate their headquarters or open offices in New York. His accelerator works closely with three of those companies:
- 4sqwifi - Helps to find nearby venues with Wi-Fi and their passwords - worldwide.
- Adspert - Focused on making performance marketing more profitable for every advertiser.
- BoatForRent - "Airbnb for boats". We connect boat owners and boat renters via a trusted, transparent, and global marketplace.
- Botego - Botego is a startup focusing on developing Natural Language Processing technology.
- Cloudagents - Focused on contact center services provided by a home-based workforce.
- Concept Electronics - Strong competences in data security, people and goods identification, and mobile applications software development.
- iLandGuide - iLandGuide is a free, all-in-one travel guide application for smartphone users on an island holiday; and a digital media solution for the local tourist industry.
- iMect DJ Player - DJ Player has a special audio engine is written in ARM Assembly, outperforming Apple's Core Audio and vDSP technologies.
- ITware - ITware is a software development firm focusing on the telecom and large enterprises.
- Mixgar - Mixgar is a Social Jukebox. It streams music to venues such as bars, restaurants and shops.
- Multipass Solutions - Independent software vendor and consultancy resolving Big Data challenges of large enterprises.
- OKsystem - Very unique family of security products in the very progressive mobile world.
- Raixe - Helps find the best designs, provide ultimate functionality, and involve our customers in the building process - turning them into artisans.
- ShopDash - ShopDash makes it easy to shop across online retailers within a tablet app.
- Zinbox - Zinbox is an email tool which can convert any inbox into a productive and enjoyable application.
In addition to putting some funding on the table, he says, iCatapult offers business connections for these startups. Hild expects to bring more companies to the U.S. at least twice per year with plans to host five startups next time. He hopes to see 20 companies in each cohort making the trip within the next three years. “We want to open doors for them and introduce them to various marketplaces,” he says. The companies who appeared last night will be on a bit of a tour of the city in May, he says, getting introduced to potential investors, the startup community, and other entrepreneurs—and they will also spend one week in Silicon Valley. “We don’t want to completely shut our options,” he says. “We want to test the waters.”