Where to Meet Startup Founders in NYC

May 06, 2024 / Written by Corporate Suites Staff

You can meet startup founders in NYC at university-sponsored groups, dedicated meetup groups for tech startups and incubators and accelerators. You can also look for companies and organizations that sponsor pitch events and demo days through which startup founders can network with one another and seek out funding and mentorships.

New York City is one of the largest metropolitan areas on Earth in terms of population per square mile. The NYC region is home to many tech companies like Spotify, and Amazon, Google and Facebook all maintain offices in NYC. This makes it a great place to live and work for startup founders who want to learn, grow and expand.

The thriving startup scene in NYC

NYC is known for many things, including finance and cuisine. The area has always been known for progress and innovation, but the dot-com boom of the late 90s and early 2000s saw NYC become a destination for tech innovators.

Today, many startups choose NYC as a base due to its large population, access to a diverse and skilled workforce, ease of access to international travel accommodations and proximity to some of the world’s largest tech companies. Meeting founders in New York City may seem daunting at first given the fast-paced nature of the city, but thankfully, there are some ways you can streamline the process of networking with founders in NYC.

Where can you meet founders in the Big Apple?

To meet founders in NYC, you first want to think about where these individuals spend their time. Many founders have busy schedules as founding a successful startup often requires a lot of time, effort and dedication. While you may get lucky and strike up a conversation on the subway with someone who happens to be a founder, a better approach is to look for these individuals in places where they are more likely to be found.

Below are some places where you can meet startup founders in NYC more efficiently:

University Entrepreneurship Programs and Incubators

Universities in the NYC area, including New York University, provide access to incubators which are programs designed to help startup founders during the idea stage. Incubators and entrepreneurship programs offered through universities are sometimes reserved only for students, but some are open to the public or are available through public-private partnerships.

Local Startup Accelerators

Startup founders can also be found through local accelerators. An accelerator is a program for startups that have already gotten past the idea stage and are ready to explore product development. Given the nature of accelerator programs for startups, founders that you meet through these programs may already have a defined vision and product, meaning they may be less flexible about making changes to their plans.

Tech Hubs and Innovation Centers

Tech hubs and innovation centers can be good places to meet founders who are in various stages of a startup journey. NewLab and Dock 72 in Brooklyn are two examples of tech and innovation centers where you’re likely to meet startup founders. Some innovation centers provide access to the public for tours to inquire about leasing space, but in general, these locations require a lease in order to access facilities and interact with others.

Attending industry events and conferences

Industry events and conferences, including TechDay and Silicon Alley NYC, can be great places to meet startup founders in the Big Apple. These types of events vary in size and scope, but most offer the ability to meet new people, many of whom are tech startup founders. Some events and conferences centered around startups are free and open to the public, but others require a registration or attendance fee or have attendance restrictions.

Connecting with experts through organizations like TechNYC

Various organizations like TechNYC can be another avenue to pursue if you want to meet startup founders in NYC. These organizations are often made up of professionals who are in various stages of developing startups, and organizers may be able to put you in touch with startup founders who match your needs.

Participating in pitch events and demo days

Pitch events and demo days are events where startups can pitch their ideas and products as well as demonstrate them in front of investors. Many of these events are invite-only, but some are semi-open to the public. In general, you will not be able to attend the actual pitch or demo portions of these events as these portions are reserved for potential investors. You may, however, be able to attend portions of these events where you can mingle with startup founders to make introductions.

Joining coworking spaces

Coworking spaces are opportunities to meet startup founders as these spaces are generally leased by small companies and entrepreneurs. Most coworking spaces are only open to tenants, so you likely will not be able to gain access to these facilities without joining a coworking space. Coworking spaces in general are great for networking with local, like-minded professionals.

Seeking out groups like Black Women Talk Tech or Latinx in Tech NYC

NYC is also home to tech startup groups that focus on expanding diversity in the tech space. Groups like Black Women Talk Tech and Latinx in Tech NYC focus on helping various groups of people in different communities to build startups and manage the various aspects of working as a startup founder.

Importance of networking with other founders

It’s important to network with other founders if you are building your own startup. Sharing ideas and struggles can help you feel understood, and you may form partnerships that can help your startup and others in the NYC community.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re a founder who is currently in the startup phase of your company’s development, it’s a good idea to ask questions and seek out answers to make the process easier. Below are some frequently asked questions and about meeting startup founders in NYC to help you along your journey:

Where do startup founders hang out

Startup founders tend to hang out in tech and innovations hubs, but they can also be found at your local coffee shop or in just about any type of neighborhood gathering. Although some startup founders prefer to work alone, others like to mingle and enjoy social events.

How to meet startup founders

You can meet startup founders by putting yourself where they are more likely to be found. This may mean spending time at local NYC meetups dedicated to startups, but it can also mean leasing space at a coworking space in your area of NYC.

Where is the best place to meet co-founders

You can meet startup co-founders by first taking a look at your professional network to see if you know someone who is a good fit. You can also spend time at tech startup events and conferences to meet like-minded professionals who share your goals and vision.

How do I reach out to startup founder

You can reach out to startup founders in a number of ways. LinkedIn, for example, can be a powerful tool to reach startup founders in NYC and elsewhere in the world. You can also look for contact information about startup founders on company websites or personal sites created by founders.

What age are most startup founders

Many startup founders are in their 20s and 30s, but according to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of a successful startup founder is 45.

How do co-founders meet

Co-founders often meet through prior relationships in business and friendships, but others meet online in various discussion groups dedicated to startups. Still, others meet in person through networking events of by sharing coworking spaces.

Do startup founders take vacation

Startup founders take vacations just like anyone else; however, a startup founder may not have as much time to take vacations as someone who works for a salary. Furthermore, tech startup founders are more likely to spend time working while on vacation.

Is 4 co-founders too many

Four co-founders may be too many depending on the nature of your startup and where you’re at in the development of your company. Conversely, four co-founders may not be enough. The number of people in charge of your startup varies based on your goals and the structure of your organization.

How much do you give a co-founder

The amount you give a co-founder in terms of compensation can vary. Some startups split profits evenly among all co-founders. Others have a merit-based compensation structure in which people earn more based on performance or the investment they brought to the company.

Should I hire a CEO for my startup

According to Inc Magazine, it’s generally not a good idea for a startup founder to also serve as the company’s CEO. A CEO can be a good role to have in a startup, but you may not need a CEO right away. A CEO is generally appointed or brought on once a startup has a defined structure and business plan in place.

Why do startup founders fail

Startups can fail for a number of reasons. Poor planning, a bad business model, organizational issues and lack of funding can all be reasons why startups fail.

Best Co-founder websites

There are a number of good co-founder websites to check out if you’re involved in a startup. CoFounders Lab and Y Combinator are two examples of websites that provide matching services for startups and co-founders.

Looking for an office in the city? Corporate Suites offers furnished office spaces, virtual offices & conference rooms in several prestigious locations across New York City.