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Announcing nextNYC Open Office Hours — This is going to be BIG

Announcing nextNYC Open Office Hours — This is going to be BIG


It’s an approach to the community that I’ve tried to emulate—to make myself available to founders wherever I can, but it’s not easy to scale. I couldn’t just randomly take any 1:1 meeting for an hour at a time—so I tried to put myself out there in “appropriately accessible” ways. These were attempts to balance my time with the stage of progress of the founder as well as the level of curation I was sticking in front of myself.

If you wanted to interview me somewhere for an open audience, I’d say yes to just about every opportunity. I didn’t care much whether you curated the room or not, because it was a chance for me to spend an hour or so talking to 50-100 people. Chances are, someone might be fundable or connected to someone who was—or, if nothing else, it would help with my reputation at large.

It’s easy for a VC to just stick within your own networks and filter bubbles—and hard to scale being “open” without opening the floodgates. I sought out ways to be open for limited, manageable segments of time, because I found it valuable and inspiring.

A couple of years ago, I had the idea that I wasn’t alone in thinking this way—that if you could make it easy to for VCs to meet a bunch of folks in a finite amount of time, they’d be open to the idea knowing that some of these founders might be early in the progress. I asked a bunch of investors I knew to sign up a widely distributed Open Office Hours—across firms and across places, wherever investors wanted to meet. We had 70 investors sign up!

What surprised a lot of the investors was the quality of the founders and the ideas. They weren’t just aspirational prototypes and ideas who couldn’t get a meeting through warm intros. Many were real companies with traction and revenues that found this to be a quick and easy way to meet and get to know investors without the hurdles of the intro gauntlet.

We heard from lots of VCs that they took multiple second meetings with founders—especially from founders that were from communities that may not have had the same level of warm connections that others did.

We did it again last October and, this time, we got over 150 investors to participate! It became obvious that it was valuable enough to both sides to keep it going and have it be a regular part of the fundraising experience in NYC. Thanks to our sponsors, Withum and J&O Law, we’ll be doing this event quarterly. Interested VCs can sign up here and companies can start signing up on Monday.

Here’s how it works:

  • Founders sign up for 20-minute intro meetings with investors

  • Founders should choose meetings with investors that are relevant to their stage and sector

  • Maximum of 4 meetings per company (this is a strict limit, we will cancel all your meetings if you exceed 4)

Our partners are super excited to support it and I couldn’t be happier to work with them. I’ve personally used the team at Withum for my own fund tax prep and audit. Withum’s Financial Services and Investment Valuation Teams feature specialists who keep VC clients ahead of the curve on all audit, tax and compliance issues so that we can focus on our investments. They also provide a wide and growing array of services to tech founders, including:

  • Qualified Small Business Stock consultations

  • Federal, state and international tax planning and compliance

  • Corporate and sales tax nexus analysis

  • Tax incentives and credits

J&O decided to flex their creative muscles and set out to interview a select group of VC’s on making a lasting impression during a short pitch. You can check out the teaser on the Open Office Hours site and stay tuned for full interviews with Sakib Jamal, Jenny Fielding, Jerry Neuman, Lucy Deland, Joe Eagan, and Ben Sun to be posted in the nextNYC weekly newsletter.

If you’re interested in meeting six NYC companies and you’re a venture investor, do you really want to be one of the few folks not on the list of VCs willing to open up two hours to the community? Join us!

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