Today, we speak with Ankesh Arora, CEO and Co-Founder of Mobile Universal, a company that provides mobile and iPhone apps, mobile websites and text marketing solutions to business organizations.
What does “Made in NY” mean to you and your company?
Well, if you look at it from a marketing perspective, “Made in NY” is for startups what “I Love NY” is for tourism. It is a campaign that highlights the successes of startups grown out of NYC.
However, for entrepreneurs like us, it has a greater meaning. It gives you a sense of belonging to a city that is going through a tech renaissance right now and transforming itself from the financial capital into a startup hotspot. You are being part of this big revolution where the next generation would be more entrepreneurial and have their own companies instead of becoming bankers and traders.
What NYC has going for itself is that a lot of industries here are ripe for disruption by technology. I mean, you have the financial industry here, the fashion industry, food industry. So, the tech scene can do wonders by plugging and providing enterprise and business solutions. This is different from Silicon Valley where technology is an industry in itself.
And you know what? The women scenario in NYC beats Silicon Valley any day! All jokes aside, what I’m really getting to is that you see a lot of women in NYC who are building startups around their passion, be it fashion, food, education, media, etc. The city would lose its charm and creativity without these entrepreneurs. It adds great diversity to the NYC startup culture and makes it truly unique. That’s why we call ourselves “Made in NY.”
What can be done to maximize the “Made in NY” campaign?
“Made in NY” focuses on startups and entrepreneurs. One of the things entrepreneurs need the most is connectivity. People in New York are always on the go, so having Wi-Fi made available everywhere in the city would be a significant measure that would increase productivity for entrepreneurs.
Another aspect that needs to be looked upon is office spaces. Numerous co-working spaces have spread across the city to provide shelter for startups. However, most of these locations are getting over-crowded and hence don’t offer much in terms of privacy or building a company culture. Given the high cost of living in NYC, most early-stage entrepreneurs cannot afford to have a private space for their startups. This is troublesome for startups that prefer to work in private but are forced to use co-working space due to its low cost. Private space at affordable price is something we need to look upon.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in NYC?
I think early stage entrepreneurship is all about college students. Speaking from personal experience, I made a choice to start my own company during college. So, we need to capture the next wave of entrepreneurs when they are in the process of making their career choices. NYC (and New York State in general) is home to some of the finest educational institutions. As such, entrepreneurship needs to be incorporated across curriculum in these institutions where students view starting a company as a wonderful, adventurous career path.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
Ha! You know what they say about entrepreneurs: Why bother to fit in when you are born to stand out! To be honest, New York City’s ecosystem is so diverse, any startup can always find a way to plug itself in. As for our company, Mobile Universal designs mobile applications for businesses like restaurants, salons, colleges, etc. that are looking to market themselves. Given our craze with smartphones and instant information, as well as the rise of m-commerce, it has become a necessity for business owners to go mobile. Our generation wants everything they need to know on their fingertips, and we make sure they get that! Just recently, we also started a program where anyone can start his or her own mobile app company. Giving people the ability to convert their ideas into apps is what we strive for.
Read what other thought leaders have to say about “Made in NY™.”