Event Recaps

VIDEO: Hacking NYC with Steve Blank, Maria Torres-Springer, and Maria Gotsch

On Tuesday, January 12th
the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, Columbia Technology Ventures
and Columbia Entrepreneurship presented

Hacking NYC:
Beyond the Rise of the NYC Startup Ecosystem
Steve Blank, Maria Torres-Springer and Maria Gotsch

The Event was Graciously Hosted by Goodwin Procter

  • Full Video: Hacking NYC with Steve Blank, Maria Gotsch, and Maria-Torres Springer 1:11:40 Video

  • Excerpt: Hacking NYC – Columbia Technology Ventures Introductions 1:58 Video

  • Excerpt: Hacking NYC – Emergence of NYC’s Startup Ecosytem 3:14 Video

  • Excerpt: Hacking NYC – Steve Blank on How Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Get Started 4:12 Video

  • Excerpt: Hacking NYC Maria Torres-Springer on Where the NYC Emergence Got Started 6:55 Video

  • Excerpt: Hacking NYC – Maria Gotsch on why the Partnership Fund for NYC Cares about Startups 6:43 Video

  • Excerpt: Hacking NYC- Why Do We Care About Startups? 6:35 Video


The current state of New York City’s burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem is widely considered a modern marvel. From the ashes of the dot com bust and the financial collapse of 2008 NYC has risen to become a vibrant, thriving, and profitable City of Tomorrow. Google and Twitter got the memo. Accelerators and co-working spaces have sprouted up across the five boroughs. About once a week a new VC firm sets up shop to tap the energy on the ground.

How much of this success can be traced back to Mayor Bloomberg’s master plan?  How has this progress evolved under Mayor de Blasio?  How has the NYC story matched or diverged from other startup hotspots like The Valley, Boston and Tel Aviv?  What might we see emerge in the years ahead?


Recently named Columbia University Senior Fellow for Entrepreneurship, Steve Blank is a retired eight-time serial entrepreneur-turned-educator and author. He has changed how startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught around the globe. His bestselling The Startup Owner’s Manual, and his earlier seminal work, The Four Steps to the Epiphany are credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. His Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia has redefined how entrepreneurship is taught; and his Innovation Corps class for the National Science Foundation forever changed how the U.S. commercializes science.

Maria G. Gotsch is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership Fund for New York City (www.pfnyc.org), which is the investment arm of the Partnership for New York City. The Fund, which has raised over $100 million, has built a network of top experts from the investment and corporate communities who help identify and support New York City’s most promising entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and non-for profit sectors. In addition to leading the Fund’s operations, Maria has spearheaded the creation and operation of a number of the Fund’s strategic initiatives, including: FinTech Innovation Lab; New York Digital Health Accelerator; NY Fashioin Tech Lab; NYCSeed (seed financing for IT/digital media companies); BioAccelerate Prize NYC (proof-of-concept funding for university-based biomedical research); Arts Entrepreneurial Loan Fund (low cost loans for mid-size arts groups); and ReStart Central and Financial Recovery Fund (assistance and funding for small businesses impacted by 9/11/01).

 Prior to joining the Fund in 1999, Maria was a Managing Director at BT Wolfensohn (now part of Deutsche Bank), providing strategic and financial advice related to mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and the development of business strategies.

Maria Torres-Springer is the President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and leads their efforts to make NYC the global model for inclusive innovation and economic growth, fueled by the diversity of its people and businesses. Her focus is on growing the vital sectors of the city’s economy while creating real opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Prior to the NYCEDC, Maria served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services where she spearheaded the administration’s efforts to raise wages and expand skill-building in workforce placement programs, support women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, streamline the regulatory environment for small businesses, and launch path-breaking initiatives like the Tech Talent Pipeline to grow the tech sector and prepare New Yorkers for 21st century jobs. Her approach to growth and inclusion also resulted in New York City’s launch of Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC), a catalytic effort to expand the economic potential of women entrepreneurs across the five boroughs, with a focus on the specific needs of underserved women and families.

Orin Herskowitz, VP of Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer for Columbia University and Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV), is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia’s Business and Engineering Schools. He has been a Board Member or Advisor to a number of innovation and entrepreneurship-focused initiatives in NYC, including the NYC Media Lab, the Coulter Translational Partnership, and PowerBridgeNY.

Columbia Entrepreneurship and the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center gratefully acknowledges the support of our hosts Goodwin Procter and Columbia Law adjunct professor for entrepreneurship Steve Davis, Goodwin Procter Business Law partner and member Technology Companies Group and the Life Sciences, Capital Markets, and Clean Tech Practices.

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