Dozens of Brooklyn’s investors, technologists, friends and supporters descended on Moore Street in Bushwick for the official opening of CartoDB’s American headquarters Thursday night.
“We love the different communities we’re a part of, so we really wanted a space we could share with them, whether it’s meetups or hackathons,” said Andrew Hill, CartoDB’s chief science officer, and also its first American employee. “We thought Bushwick was really interesting because we could attract that tech community here.”
The space is beautiful but also unpretentious.
It has two levels, one a loft with skylights where the workers will work, and a bottom floor with conference rooms and open area for hosting events. Thursday night this space was trimmed with white Christmas lights, a photo booth and a four-piece band. In the large, open patio out front, which was likely used to accept and store recyclable materials previously, stood two food trucks, an ice cream stand and a station that served wine.
The mapping and data visualization company has come into some money recently. Earlier this month, it reported receiving $23 million in funding and would be expanding its team. The company’s founder, Javier de la Torre, explained that the company could get more space for less money in Bushwick than they could in Williamsburg or Dumbo. He also echoed the idea that they wanted to be a part of the creative community in Bushwick, and help build the tech community there.
“The fact that we’re here now and actually changing an industry … it’s very cheesy to say, but we’re very grateful to be here,” de la Torre said Thursday night.
One of the thrusts of CartoDB’s mission is going to be analyzing data more and more, rather than simply displaying it, de la Torre explained in an interview. We caught up with Santiago Giraldo Anduaga, a civic technologist for the company, to learn about how mapping can help improve cities.
“What I do is think about cities critically and deeply and about data that frames the invisible structures of our world, such as zoning or the rate of increase in rent prices,” Anduaga explained. “It’s about leveraging the power of the analysis using data.” He gave the Baltimore riots, “or more accurately, rebellion,” as an example.
It was a promising night. After the yucca fries were consumed, the rioja bottles corked and de la Torre’s speech was finished, the party-goers dispersed into Ubers waiting across the street, by the New York Pretzel factory. Now continues CartoDB’s work of creating great maps and helping build the tech scene in Bushwick.