That TechCrunch Disrupt NY is being held in Red Hook this year deserves a bit of celebration on the part of the Brooklyn tech scene. Though TechCrunch is by no means the final word on which tech communities are important (that’d be Technically Media, duh) its Disrupt events do carry some cachet. That the venture capitalist class have to come across a bridge and find themselves in Red Hook says something of the import of the Brooklyn tech world.
There are plenty of people doing great work in the Brooklyn tech world, but one in particular stands out, and we were at his party Tuesday night at Hometown BBQ. Charlie O’Donnell is Brooklyn’s foremost venture capitalist. Formerly of First Round Capital, O’Donnell launched his own seed and early-stage venture fund in 2012, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Born and raised in Brooklyn, O’Donnell takes the cultivation of the Brooklyn tech scene as serious as anyone. He’s at every sizeable tech event you go to, connecting people all the time.
So big ups to the Brooklyn tech world and big ups to O’Donnell. Here are three people we met at the party, and what they think about being founders in Brooklyn.
Naira Musallam, cofounder of Dumbo’s Frontier7
“We’re both addicted to roller coasters,” Musallam said of she and her cofounder, Tim Lawton, and their data analytics startup. “You have to be addicted to the notion of ambiguity, otherwise you would not be in it. No way. People talk about how you have to be OK with anxiety. My argument is actually no, you have to be addicted to it. Otherwise you might as well get a freaking corporate job!”
Brian Gerrard, cofounder of Fort Greene’s BAE
“Brooklyn is the shit. It’s tremendously diverse,” said Gerrard, a cofounder with his brother of BAE, a dating app for people of color. “In Fort Greene it’s easy to get in and out of the city. I like the people there. We converted my apartment into an office and across the street is the Atlantic Terminal public housing. Down from me is a $4 million brownstone and to the left of me is the Barclays [Center].”
Marco Perry, founder of Downtown Brooklyn’s Pensa
“I think [Brooklyn] is exploding right now,” said Perry. “I’ve had my business [a design studio] for about 10 years. It used to be people who’d made money in finance and wanted a different life or a crazy inventor type. I would say in the last two years we’ve worked with more startups than we had in the last 10 years. They’re well-supported, they’re well-educated, and they know what they’re doing.”
Knowledge is power!
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