ff Venture Capital is launching a periodic Meetup for people who work in the innovation community and who are parents of pre-teen children. Our Venture Partner Michael Yavonditte (father of a 2-year-old) and I (girls ages 6, almost 4, and 8 months) are leading this. We envision organizing activities that our kids, partners, and we will all jointly enjoy. For example:
– Visit to the NY Hall of Science/Childrens’ Museum of Manhattan/Sony Wonderland
– Meeting at a playground in Central Park
– Craft projects
Our first event is free and is Sunday, July 31, 10am-1pm, at the Sakura Park Playground, off Riverside Drive, between Claremont Ave and West 122nd St, New York. We’re holding this event jointly with the Columbia Venture Community, with Alex Poon, co-founder & VP of data modeling of Visual Revenue, as our liaison. However, you don’t need any affiliation with Columbia to attend. Wear a white shirt if possible so we can identify you.
(Note that 1pm-4pm on July 31 is the Columbia Alumni Association picnic on the Columbia campus, so many of us will walk directly to that event after the playdate.)
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Now that I’m up to my 3rd child, effectively all of my weekend/spare time is spent with the kids. That’s great, but it also means that I’m somewhat cut off from some of the great activities that the NY innovation community organizes every week: the classes, panels, presentations, networking events, pitch contests, etc. That’s why we’re working on this initiative.
We are extremely receptive to creative suggestions from the community for activities we can do. In particular, if you are on the board of any organizations serving pre-teen children, we’d love you to host a special event for our community (in the 9am-5pm window, so the kids can come). I think that we can generate a strong turnout relatively quickly, given how many people have a family situation similar to Mike and me.
Some of my friends in the corporate world think that people in the innovation community spend an excessive amount of time going to the 2-5 events happening every night in the NY innovation community. I’ve given some thought to this, and I think that they’re in most cases incorrect. If you work for a large company, a big part of your job is internal meetings to align different parts of the organization and to learn from your peers. When you work for a VC/startup, you don’t have to worry very much about those issues. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people want to work in startups!
However, regardless of your work situation, you still have a need to benchmark with peers, advance your professional development, and so on. Even if you work for a 5-person startup, you really are working for “NY Startups Inc.”, which in aggregate is quite a large company. (The VC community collectively functions like the CFO’s office of NY Startups Inc., allocating capital to projects which promise the highest return.) All of those events are the equivalent of the internal meetings that I spent time on when I worked in a prior life at Bear Stearns and Procter & Gamble.
As one more general comment: I think that the Internet startup world is currently focused disproportionately on services relevant to the single crowd, e.g., yet another app to find where the girls are. As people in the innovation community partner up and have kids, hopefully more tools will emerge to serve the large percentage of the population that are parents and have very different social needs.
(Cute photo, not of my kids, courtesy Epsos.)