Last night I went to a fundraiser for Venture for America here in New York. I am happy to report that the place was hopping and hopefully a lot of money was raised. Congratulations to Andrew Yang and his team for taking this from an idea just a short time ago to a well running organization.
The core mission of Venture for America is to get more young graduates excited about startups as a career option (as opposed to say banking or consulting). The Venture for America fellows are being placed with startups across the country but with a particular focus on cities in which recruiting for startups is especially difficult.
It was therefore the perfect fit that last night’s speaker was Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, who has recently moved the company’s headquarters to downtown Vegas. This is part of a project he initiated to revitalize that area of the city. The so-called Downtown Project has many components to it and one of them are startup companies.
Both Venture for America and the Downtown Project fit with my belief that cities will be important hubs of innovation but that no particular city has a monopoly on inventing the future. For instance, we have seen a number of terrific companies come out of Toronto recently, including USV portfolio company Wattpad. It will be very interesting to see this play itself out over the coming years and my recent trip to China convinced me that some of the mega cities there will be part of this for sure. It also means that here in New York we need to continue to invest in the growth of our local startup community.