New York City is one of the top places in the world to launch a tech startup. From a diverse culture to vast resources for aspiring entrepreneurs and a large pool of talent, there’s no denying that NYC is a veritable hotbed of innovation.
However, despite the considerable advantages for those looking to build a startup in the area, none of it would matter if it weren’t for New York City’s startup luminaries, whose efforts to foster the growth of local founders are vital to its developing startup ecosystem.
One such startup luminary is Kevin Siskar.
Having served as the Managing Director of the New York Founder Institute since 2015, Kevin has built a portfolio of more than 80 early stage tech startups in NYC. In 2016, he was named Best Startup Ecosystem Developer in the Founder Institute network, which has a global reach that spans across over 150 cities.
However, as if that weren’t enough, Kevin is also the host of the Ambition Today podcast, where he explores the hardships and heroism of entrepreneurs, creators, investors, and builders who ambitiously changed the world; a Venture Partner at Outbound Ventures; a co-founder of the NYC Innovation Collective; and has recently launched an AngelList syndicate to enable other Mentors and Directors to invest alongside him.
As you can tell, entrepreneurship is baked into Kevin’s DNA.
I have a problem with authority. I constantly question things, I’m hyper curious, and if things are not done in a way that makes sense to me, I question them and then I look for better ways to do them.
While Kevin holds himself to a high standard when it comes to how he carries out his own endeavors, he holds aspiring entrepreneurs who join the New York Founder Institute to a standard that’s just as high, if not higher, resulting in some of the most promising startups to come out of any FI program worldwide.
The best founders in my opinion set a very high long term vision, prioritize their milestones in a way that always moves the needle toward the long term vision, and they don't let short term obstacles stop them when they get in the way. They are notorious problem solvers with a deep passion for what they are doing.
Below are just a few of the amazing companies that Kevin Siskar has helped launch since running the New York Founder Institute:
Alta Claro: AltaClaro is an experiential learning community that provides attorneys with universal access to the highest quality, most engaging legal education content, taught by some of the industries leading subject matter experts.
Craft and Savor: Craft and Savor provides fully prepped recipes, with same-day delivery, to help urban millennials and parents get access to high-quality, yet convenient meal options conducive to their busy schedules.
Easy Aerial Inc.: Easy Aerial provides infrastructure inspection services to utility companies saving them time and money using drone deployment technology in the cloud.
DentalStores: DentalStores enables instant deployment of managed full-stack e-commerce operations to help Dental Offices sell professionally-dispensed products to patients without investment in inventory or staff.
ONYO: Onyo is creating the first food pickup marketplace in Brazil, focusing the go-to market on food courts, and provides instant ability to order and pay ahead.
PicketFencer: PicketFencer is a web application that helps homebuyers find a hometown that fits, based on insights from the people that live there.
Stareable: Stareable has set out to organize the long tail of online television content and make it more accessible for audiences.
TeddyMozart: TeddyMozart is developing a music streaming app and a variety of high quality bluetooth plush toy speakers so families can easily record and store family traditional songs, lullabies and stories from anywhere and share it with young children from generation to generation through a plush toy, forever.
Don’t go looking for ideas. Go have experiences. Typically, when entrepreneurship works well something is going to hit you that is inefficient and doesn’t make sense. And even that is not enough. You need to wait until it’s a thing that keeps you up at night, like when you’re in the shower or walking to your car and can’t stop thinking about it and get excited about it and want to get after it. These things are really hard to do and you sort of need that otherwise you’ll fizzle out after 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years. You won’t really build anything great.