A few days before I left for my business trip to New York, I realized I was thinking too small. Under immense start-up stress and having a live-in boyfriend equally stressed trying to take a big professional exam it occurred to me that the cup was full, something was going to have to give. I didn't realize that everything would. The next day my then boyfriend moved out and I started packing for my trip.
By the time I landed at JFK I was already getting my ass chewed out by an Advisor who thought I had told someone his friend was interested in investing in my start-up. Total miscommunication but it really pissed off my Advisor's friend which then pissed my Advisor off. 5 minutes into New York and what I thought would close or be any amount of help is looking like a disaster. Something had to give.
I spent the following days meeting with various founders, Angels, and anyone in my industry who seemed relevant. In hindsight it all seems more like a blur where I was testing the city out, it was also Social Media Week which is madness in itself. The longer I stayed in the city the further away Silicon Valley seemed anyway. From my SocialTimes articles I got an amazingly affordable offer for office space on Park Avenue, but I still needed money, so I kept thinking of California as my wallet "I need to go back," I told my friends "we're in fundraising mode, maybe in XX months we will move out here." I kept making excuses for why I needed to go back to San Francisco but I knew that if I did close big investment there I would be stuck and all our potential clients are here on the East Coast.
My last meeting is when I officially became a New Yorker, without realizing it.
For more info on Esther Dyson and how it came to be --->>
Six months ago several VCs and Angels kept asking me "Have you talked to Esther Dyson?" It came to the point of annoyance so I Googled her and reached out to the Twitterverse to schedule a meeting, sure enough she emailed! We had a dialogue going for months and she was my last meeting of this short business trip. I thought to myself I must be crazy to think I'm deserving of this woman's time or that I can even sit at a table with this legend. On a saturday afternoon she buzzed me up to her floor and we grabbed a conference room. Esther Dyson, an iconic investor sat across from me and at that exact moment I completely melted.
"Welcome..." she said.
"Welcome to New York...how can I help you?"
So simple and that's all she had to say. Everything inside of me went calm. Welcome.
After our meeting I felt like a new person, I walked around downtown in a complete and utter daze and I realized just then, there was no way I should go back to SF. People were bugging me for flight details and my schedule coming back and I kept pushing them off, I knew I needed to stay but had no clue what that looked like. 2 hours before my flight I sat in the Park Avenue office typing emails away like a hero scheduling pickups of checks in California. My packed bags sitting behind me with SFO tags, then I got THE emails...the "sorrys" and "we need more traction" emails from a few of the people who had promised funds upon my return. There was actually a good five minute pause where my mind did a complete freeze. Scared I emailed Esther first who instantly responded "of course I will help you!" I took one look at my bags and said goodbye to San Francisco in my mind and never made that flight.
Since then we keep cranking out product, have brought on another NYC based investor and hopefully bringing on another Advisor who can help with an area we want to branch into. I got a temporary apartment nearby - big enough for employees to stay at- and have leased out a section WebMediaBrands floor. Networking has been amazing and surprisingly bringing a start-up from San Francisco to NYC is quite the conversation starter. People are eager to help and won't waste your time pretending to be nice. So that's it, I never made my flight back. Welcome to New York, how can I help you?