Courtney Boyd Myers and Erica Berger are the founders of 3460 Miles, a bi-weekly newsletter that connects the New York and London tech, design, and social good communities. Sign up for their newsletter and find them on Twitter and Facebook.
There is no shortage of Best ofs, Top 100s, and Power Lists out there on the Internet. Tech is an industry that loves to celebrate itself.
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We wanted to do something a little bit different this time around. We took a look beyond just founders and at the builders, the designers and the characters in our community that make New York City such a great place to live and work in technology and innovation.
These 50 people are charismatic, passionate, and purpose-driven; they’re fearless, fun, smart, creative, and charming; they’re on a mission. They are also people we love spending time with; people who inspire us. They are exactly who you need to know to get the big picture of NYC tech.
While our list is not exhaustive or comprehensive nor perfectly balanced, it’s a great start to navigating the biggest (and best) city in America with some of our favorite people.
If you made it to this list, we look forward meeting you at our inaugural The Next Web Conference USA in New York! Ping TNW Co-founder firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a face to face meeting at the event.
1) Laurel Touby of Mediabistro (@LaurelTouby)
From spunky twenty-something throwing parties to multi-millionaire media empress, Touby founded and sold Mediabistro for $20 million after 14 years of labor. Maintaining a quirky personality and purple-feathered fashion choices, she is now an investor and advisor to several NYC startups.
2) Matthew Brimer of General Assembly (@Brimer)
Out of the four founders of General Assembly, a company that set the bar for coworking spaces and entrepreneurial education, Brimer is the one everyone knows best. The man about town is wildly intelligent and always well-dressed. His spontaneous dance parties are unmatched, as is his glowing personality.
Donning bowties and one piece short suits, never has there been a pair quite like these two. Two of the brightest business minds in the technology industry, Chawla and Matzner are the Founder and Director of Strategy at Fueled (respectively), an award-winning mobile design and development company that hosts the Fueled Collective, a co-working space comprised of over 25 startups in downtown Manhattan.
5) Toby Daniels of Social Media Week and Crowdcentric (@tobyd)
What’s better than tea, Downton Abbey and Grand Theft Auto? British import Toby Daniels, that’s what. Daniels is the founder of Social Media Week, a media platform and event that takes place in multiple cities worldwide. (We also adore his wife, a self described “internet junkie and culture enthusiast” Ellie Rountree.)
6) Soraya Darabi of Zady (@sorayadarabi)
Darabi is a force of nature in the New York tech scene. From The New York Times to Drop.io to Foodspotting, and now an ethical fashion entrepreneur as the founder of Zady, she’s gracefully moved from one success story to the next. Darabi is also an investor to some and advisor to many.
7) Kathryn Minshew of The Muse (@kmin)
With a consistent spotlight in the media as an expert in career development and entrepreneurship, Minshew has grown her company The Muse into an online content platform with millions of monthly readers. Minshew is also an incredible inspiration for women in business, gracefully balancing charm with kick-ass leadership skills.
8) Niamh Hughes of Shutterstock (@NiamhHughes)
This Irish export’s magnanimous personality, keen sense of tech and unparalleled people skills make her perfect for her new role as Head of Developer Advocacy at Shutterstock. Niamh (pronounced “Neev”) is also very active in Sandbox, a worldwide global community of young leaders and doers.
9) Cecilia Pagkalinawan of Hone (@CeciliaNY)
Since NYC Tech 1.0, Cecilia Pagkalinawan has been perched at the crux of fashion and e-commerce leading companies to IPO and making waves as the founder of fashion tech startups. Pagkalinawan is now the CMO at Hone, a social curation and intelligence platform for makers, marketers and publishers.
10) Jenna Wortham of The New York Times (@jennydeluxe)
Perhaps one of the most influential journalists in New York’s tech scene, Wortham has a whopping half million Twitter followers and regularly writes for the NY Times’ technology blog “Bits”. We also love her side hustle – Girl Crush Zine.
11) Alexander Fabry of Artsy (@alexanderfabry)
A Manhattanite born and bred, Fabry is on a quest to merge the worlds of art and tech leading product at Artsy, which just recently launched its new iPhone app. Alexander’s passion for both art and tech make him a great representative of what makes NYC tech unique.
12) Brian Cohen of The NY Tech Angels (@brianscohen)
Cohen is our city’s most bad ass angel investor. Cohen serves as the Chairman of the New York Angels, which has invested over $53 million into more than 70 early stage technology companies. In addition to angel investing, he is considered the father of science and technology communications since he founded Technology Solutions, Inc. in 1983.
13) Jessica Lawrence of NYTM (@jessicalawrence)
It’s arguable that Lawrence has done more to catalyze the New York City tech scene than any other human on the planet. As the Executive Director of NY Tech Meetup (NYTM), the largest Meetup in the world and a 33,000-member non-profit organization, Lawrence is at the eye of the storm, helping to build a sustainable and diverse technology industry in New York.
14) Shane Snow of Contently (@shanesnow)
If “Content is King” then Shane Snow, the Founder of Contently is the man collecting all the coins. From journalist to tech entrepreneur, Snow has built one of the most useful and powerful content distribution and organization platforms on the planet.
15) Alexa Von Tobel of LearnVest (@alexavontobel)
Earlier this year, Bloomberg shouted that Alexa von Tobel may be the next Suze Orman for financial advice. As the 29-year old founder of LearnVest, a personal finance site that’s raised more than $25 million, Von Tobel is bar none the most impressive founder we’ve ever sat down with in an interview.
16) Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker (@NeilBlumenthal)
Don’t let his clean cut look and beautifully designed eyewear fool you — Blumenthal is a world-class entrepreneur who cut his teeth selling fake IDs back in school. And that’s why we love him. Despite the fact he’s running an amazing business and saving the world one pair of eyeglasses at a time, he’s also one of the city’s finest humans with whom to grab a cocktail.
If J.D. Salinger were alive today, he would write a story called Mark and Felicity. It would be a witty love story of two Manhattanites who made an app called Definer and ran around the city making up words like #Desserter and #GettingCabled. It would be a darling story.
19) Baratunde Thurston of Cultivated Wit (@Baratunde)
Formerly of The Onion, it’s no surprise Baratunde is both a fantastic writer and comedian. He’s the author of “How To Be Black” and co-founder of Cultivated Wit. Last winter, he left the Internet for 25 days. Here’s why you should too.
20) Elliot Tomaeno of Astrsk PR (@elliotPR)
Startups need great media coverage to grow, and the best in the biz for young, consumer tech companies is Elliot Tomaeno. As the founder of Astrsk PR, he currently works with stellar clients like Grand St., YPlan and Gin Lane Media.
21) Seth Porges of Cloth App (@sethporges)
Freelance writer by day and fashion app entrepreneur by night, Porges covers everything from tech startups to cars and liquor for sites like Wired, Popular Mechanics and Maxim. Fun fact: Porges is the world’s foremost expert on pinball!
22) Rachel Haot of NYC Digital (@rachelhaot)
As New York City’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer, Haot hit our city with a wave of technology updates like getting Mayor Bloomberg on Foursquare, the city on Tumblr and Twitter and leading the charge behind the We Are Made in NY campaign. She’ll be speaking at The Next Web Conference USA, too.
23) Dave Tisch of The Box Group (@davetisch)
Last we counted, Tisch had made just over 100 early stage investments in New York startups. A born and bred New Yorker, Tisch is an angel investor at The Box Group and was the co-founder of TechStars NYC, the city’s top accelerator program.
Werdelin is a brilliant Danish import who moved to New York City just three years ago. He’s now a Partner at Prehype, a venture development firm that’s helped create companies such as BarkBox, Basno, SunRise, Go Try it On, ChartBeat, Path, HelloBrit and Fancy Hands.
25) Kellee Khalil of Loverly (@Kellee)
Need to plan a wedding? Look no further than Lover.ly, a visual ecommerce site that pulls images and products from the world’s top wedding blogs. We love Khalil’s free-spirited yet relentless determination to succeed.
26) Azita Ardakani of Lovesocial (@azita)
Lovesocial is a little digital communications organization that does big things, always communicating with intention. Ardikani, originally from Vancouver, Canada, has since moved to NYC to grow the brand, and is the youngest female founder of a B Corporation. With clients like NPR, TED Active, and the film Gasland, we’re not the only ones who love her combination of charisma, passion and purpose.
27) Danya Cheskis-Gold of Spark Capital (@danyacg)
Cheskis-Gold has been a force in NYC for the last few years, as one of the earliest employees at Skillshare, helping to build its community. Recently, she left to join Spark Capital as their first head of community and marketing. Cheskis-Gold will be helping their portfolio companies grow. Added bonus? She runs an amazing pop up shabbat dinner!
28) Will Peng of Red Swan Ventures (@wp)
Peng has spent the last few years in NYC, first in product at Drop.io and Hot Potato (both acquired by Facebook), and then as an investor at Raptor Ventures. He recently left to start Red Swan, and we love their investment thesis: investing in “entrepreneurs who delight customers, create culture, and disrupt industries.” He also makes his own ice cream, which is delicious!
Strickler and Chen met a few years ago at a restaurant, and have trail-blazed the crowdfunding world, empowering creators across the globe with their platform Kickstarter. They’ve changed the game for artists, authors, filmmakers, and product builders. They’re also super down to earth and proud New Yorkers.
30) Caroline McCarthy of Jumping Fox (@caro)
McCarthy started her career off at CNET, splitting time covering tech between SF and NYC. After a stint at Google in marketing, she’s recently left to start her own content consulting business. You can find her rowing, hiking, running, traveling, and writing wicked smart stories.
31) Maria Popova of BrainPickings (@brainpicker)
Popova began her blog of all of the interesting things she stumbled upon online (and offline) a few years ago while working at an ad agency. She now spends the majority of her time curating for BrainPickings, and inspiring readers and supporters around the world. Find her in the city, most often wearing yellow!
32) Jesse Israel of Cantora (@jesseisrael)
Originally from LA, Israel attended NYU where he met a few friends and decided to start a music management business and label, Cantora Records. Over the last two years, he’s kept a keen eye on tech, and now focuses on changing the way we experience music live, by investing in and helping tech entrepreneurs grow their products and build the most awesome partnerships.
33) Jake Levine of Digg (@jrlevine)
Levine has been in NYC tech for a few years, first at The Ladders, and then helping Betaworks grow news.me and eventually now, reviving the site Digg. Digg has quickly become one of our favorite ways (again) to discover the best content on the Internet. Levine’s keen understanding of media and social, and his warm demeanor make it easy to love the product.
34) Joshua Cummings of KLINE Sketchbooks and Journals (@klinenyc)
As an eco-minded architect, Cummings has designed some of our favorite coffee shops in the city. After meeting his co-founder Hassan Karimi over a year ago, he realized his next passion was to create and redesign the sketchbook and journal — allowing people to escape the confines of their studio and create anywhere and everywhere. After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, KLINE is coming to market this fall.
Middleton and Shampine created the WeWorkLabs space a few years ago, helping to grow the co-working industry in NYC. Now, they’re expanding to cities across the U.S., helping the best people in tech meet and collaborate, all while in a wonderful shared office space.
37) Frank Denbow of Startup Threads @FrankDenbow
Not only does Denbow run the fun startup t-shirt company Startup Threads, he manages NYC’s Startup Digest, helping you know what events, courses, and parties are happening that week. He’s been co-working at GA since it launched, helps lead Startup Weekend hackathons, and is one of the smartest developers in NYC tech.
38) Rex Sorgatz (@fimoculous) of Kinda Sorta Media
Known as one of NYC’s best Internet strategists and advisors, Sorgatz puts his good name and smarts behind more companies than you know. His nuanced vision in media and tech, his decade plus long experience in NYC, and his outgoing attitude makes him one of our favorite people to run into, night and day.
39) Paul Berry of RebelMouse (@teamreboot)
Previously the CTO of The Huffington Post, Berry left over a year ago to help build RebelMouse, a new hub for social feeds that media companies, brands, and individuals are using to paint a larger social media and messaging picture. With vision and a rich sense of humor, Berry has been a meaningful builder of the NYC tech and media ecosystem, and a mentor to many.
Have you ever been to a tech conference where 50% of the people on stage were women? These two ambitious women won’t rest until you do. Leading the cause for women in tech, Sklar and MacNicol started The Li.st, a supportive network and resource for female entrepreneurs, which some know as “XX in Tech”.
42) Sean Glass of WIN Music (@sdotglass)
Native New Yorker Sean Glass could be called the musical director for NYC tech, DJing the best parties while also running his own electronic music company, WIN. There’s also a massive crowd of techies whenever Glass plays, and not just because of his great music taste, but also for his dance moves and epically shaggy hair.
43) Amanda Peyton of Grand Street (@amandapey)
Peyton is a co-founder of Grand St. and a mobile and web product designer who is passionate about mobile, ecommerce and storytelling. She enjoys writing as well and has her own blog which covers startups, New York City, hardware, creative technology, urban interaction, mobile computing, and China.
44) Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Media (@Rasiej)
Rasiej has been a leader in the open Internet and open government movement for decades, working at the intersection of technology and policy. Yearly, he convenes some of the top minds at his Personal Democracy Forum, while also sitting on the board of The New York Tech Meetup. He’s a great example of a New Yorker using his smarts and success to fight for a better Internet and a better world.
45) Alexis Ohanian, Author and Co-founder of Reddit (@alexisohanian)
Speaking of fighting for a better Internet and planet, Alexis Ohanian, co- founder of Reddit, and now an investor and author, might be seen as the President of the Internets (if there were one!). His powerful and passionate voice has been leading the fight for an open web and better policy in Washington. We’re looking forward to his forthcoming book, Without Their Permission. He’ll be speaking at The Next Web Conference USA, too.
46) Seth Bannon of Amicus (@sethbannon)
After working on the Obama campaign, Bannon realized there was a big opportunity to make fundraising better. He’s since built Amicus, a technology that leverages the power of social networks to fundraise and advocate for nonprofits. We thought we might have lost him to the West Coast after Amicus went to Y Combinator, but he loyally returned with his team to NYC, where they work out of a beautiful new office in Soho.
47) Nancy Lublin of DoSomething (@nancylublin)
Lublin might be more well-known to you as the founder of Dress for Success. In the last few years, she’s turned around the nonprofit DoSomething, making it into a driving force in teen empowerment and activism. Check out her new project, Crisis Text Line or find her running around events like the Social Good Cage Fight in NYC.
48) Eli Pariser of Upworthy (@elipariser)
Previously, Pariser helped grow MoveOn.org, co-founded Avaaz and then subsequently wrote a book about the Internet titled, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You. Now, you might know him as the co-founder of Upworthy, one of the most viral content sites on the Internet. We love Upworthy’s approach to making the news that matters go viral: repackage it, write an awesome headline, annotate it, and share it on the right channels.
49) Julia Kaganskiy Freelance curator, editor, and cultural producer (@juliaxgulia)
Julia Kaganskiy has been connecting the worlds of art and technology for the past six years, bringing together innovators across data visualization, performance art, computational science, and more. During her time at The Creators Project, Kaganskiy sparked collaborations between Vice Magazine, technologists, and cultural institutions in New York including the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Academy of Science, and the Museum of Modern Art. She’s now focusing on amazing projects in art and technology.
50) Anthony DeRosa of Circa (@AntDeRosa)
Last but definitely not least is Anthony DeRosa, the best person to follow on social media if you want to understand what’s happening in the world. After impressively leading Social at Reuters, he’s recently left to become the Editor-in-Chief of Circa, a brilliant short-form mobile news app. Anthony has worked in NYC tech and media since the mid-2000s, both on product and on editorial, and is a great liaison between media and the Internet.
If you’ve made it this far down the list, we hope you’ve also taken a few detours to start following some of these great people on the Internet and checking out their projects, passions and future billion dollar companies.
New York City is the world’s greatest melting pot, attracting the world’s greatest minds that impress its ever-evolving nature. Something truly remarkable has taken shape within New York City’s digital industries over the past decade, and we’d like to thank everyone on this list for being a powerful part of it.
Tickets for The Next Web Conference USA 2013 are available now.
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Don’t miss: The top 20 tech hangouts in New York City
Tickets for The Next Web Conference USA 2013 are available now.
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