Tuesday, May 11, 1999

Venture Downtown Midtown

NYNMA's Venture Downtown, a VC conference for cutting-edge New York new media companies, occurred on May 11th at the New York Hilton. NYNMA is getting good at bringing in the heavy players for its events, thanks to the powerful leadership of Alice O'Rourke and the indefatigable efforts of the NYNMA staff. They all deserve kudos for putting on an event that will assist in raising NY to significant player status among "wired cities" doing noteworthy "stuff."

There were two tracks in the morning and afternoon, a luncheon with keynote from our morning speaker Guy Kawasaki, and a cocktail reception sponsored by Microsoft and ZDNet. The "other" Michael Wolf, author of "The Entertainment Economy: How Mega Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives" and founder and senior partner of the media & entertainment practice of Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc, gave the morning keynote to a full house. By stopping by in the late morning I was able to meet up with a few notable sponsors, including Tom Hyland, partner and new media group chair at Price Waterhouse Coopers. Burt Alimansky was there telling Jeanine Moss (VP, sales & marketing, NY Business Forums, who was wearing a stunning silver cuff bracelet) and Stan Sandberg (Ladenburg Thalmann--also a sponsor) about my Uncle Bert, who own a successful tie and menswear business (XMI). Stephen Berman (pres., Synergy Capital) and Chris Wood and Chris Patyk (both of Riverside Management Group, LLC) and Howie Schwartz (Antidote Systems) were waiting for Track A companies to start presenting.

A bit later I came back up to meet up with Ben Boissevain (e-Technologies), Jon Perkel and Anna Wong of Mofo.com, and Miriam Eaves of 1ClickCharge. Howard Greenstein of Microsoft told me about some of his new developments, including his recent promotion to Technical Evangelist, Windows Media Technologies. David Friedensohn (CEO of BigStar) came over to say "hello" and introduced me to Gretchen Grant (of Grant Media), who is working with Marc Scarpa of Jumpcut. Bruce Strzelczyk (Richard A. Eisnor) and Gavin McElroy were comparing ties (Bruce won with a fantastic American Flag motif). Greg Arnold (pres.) and Marc Boroditsky (CEO) of Passlogix were there with two of their friends/investors Ross Goldstein and Daniel Schultz (managing partners @ Atlantic Venture Partners). Michael Schwartz (pres., Signal Core) was also sporting a great tie with a fish on it -- in celebration of May and Fly fishing season. I ran into old college buddy Steve Novick (private equity, Lehman Brothers) and VP, Finance DesignerOutlet.com, who was with this new startup's pres. and CEO, Lauren Battista. I also met Michael Werner (director, East Coast partner and ISV relations, Microsoft) and Thomas Kurz (dir. of Eagle Financial Partners).

Raphi Salem (CEO, pres.) of SalemGlobal was charming as ever and reminded me about his newsletter. Jim Chard of 1ClickCharge and John Delaney (Mofo.com) were chatting it up with Mary Sue Blackney (Mofo.com) about the recent "San Jose Mercury News" article about the law firm's domain name, which has been attributed to a vulgar phrase. The article was saying that the firm has been known as "mofo" in legal circles for years, and when web sites were starting up, they took advantage of that and snatched up the domain name. Despite the joke, marketing director Carl Whitaker said "It is very Web-oriented and catchy.'' Multi-tasker extraordinaire Alex Cohen was cutting it up with Felix Knoll (a recent sales hire at Sun). Alex and McAdory Lipscomb helped train the presenters for today's show. He is graduating from Columbia Law School, has an investment fund (KMS Fund, started by Kevin McKullum (who started the Broadway show "Rent"), and has funny Puri pictures of him and his girlfriend in his Palm carrier!