DreamIt Ventures recently announced its summer 2013 NYC class, which marks its third class since expanding to New York from Philadelphia and Austin. Today, Eytan Daniyalzade, CEO and Co-Founder of Stylr, a mobile shopping app for iPhones that helps users search for the fashion available in their local stores, tells AlleyWatch about his decision to apply to DreamIt Ventures and shares his thoughts on New York’s startup landscape.
Tell us about the decision to apply for DreamIt Ventures.
Building a startup is a long and uphill battle. It is about proving the business model, building the product, generating the first few customers and establishing the market. Along the way, the shortcuts you can take and the mistakes you can avoid make or break the company. We decided to apply to DreamIt to shorten the time it would take us to validate our ideas, and to learn from the collective experience of the past/current companies. The strong network of mentors and advisors was another reason why we applied.
Why did you choose DreamIt New York versus other locations?
We definitely thought about other locations as well, but ultimately it came down to choosing the program that would be the best fit for what we are building. Because we are building a retail-tech company, being in New York, where a majority of the key decision makers are, makes sense. Furthermore, DreamIt New York has a very strong e-commerce advisory board, which helps us establish the connections that we need in a matter of days as opposed to months.
What is your take on the current scene in New York today?
Having worked in both Silicon Valley and New York, I have the perspective needed to compare the two locations. Although the community and activity in the Valley is undisputedly larger, it is denser and more intimate in New York. Since New York is currently the underdog ecosystem, entrepreneurs go out of their way to help each other out. Also, the small size of the community makes every member relatively reachable, which is great.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
A great advantage of the New York ecosystem is its diversity. In New York, the startup scene is not an island of its own, but is well integrated with the other industries, like retail, advertising and finance. As a company focusing on retail, we really benefit from the proximity to these other industries.