How the New York Tech Meetup Prepared Us for TechStars

Guest Post by Mitch Wainer, DigitalOcean

When we started DigitalOcean in the summer of 2011, we had a goal of providing quick and convenient cloud hosting where servers could be spun up, scaled out, and saved, and deleted within minutes. At the time, we were so focused on developing our product, we had no idea how vast the New York Tech Scene, or the startup world for that matter, really was.  Having the privilege to present at the New York Tech Meetup played a big part in preparing us for both applying to the TechStars Startup Accelerator and succeeding within the program.

Before attending our first NYTM, we had, of course, attended some tech meetups in the area, but none had highlighted just how strong the energy was in the New York tech community.  We witnessed that excitement after attending just one New York Tech Meetup. One month later, we had the privilege of presenting DigitalOcean on the NYTM stage.

Our debut at the New York Tech Meetup was the first time, after eight non-stop months of building DigitalOcean, that we were finally able to show off what we had created. Only testers had seen what we had to offer, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first audience than the NYTM participants. We built our platform to provide developers and startups with a way to get their product online quickly, and those were exactly the people who filled the auditorium. But NYTM gave us much more than just a venue to build our brand, it gave us an opportunity to validate our MVP (minimal viable product) and build our credibility. The New York Tech Meetup is very selective in the startups it picks—giving us time on stage as one of the few infrastructure provider startups that have been chosen to present helped confirm that there was a demand for what we offered.

The customers we gained from our presentation then provided invaluable feedback, giving us more product feature wishlists, debugging our system, and spreading our name.

Besides the networking aspect of the NYTM, presenting on the NYU stage exposed us to the vast amount of the startups in New York and gave us a taste of what participating in the growing New York tech scene was like. The positive response encouraged us to accelerate our growth and drove us to apply to TechStars Boulder, where we put a strong emphasis on our participation in the New York Tech Meetup on the application. As summer ended, our time in the TechStars Boulder program came to a close. It was time for the Boulder New Tech meetup, and we were more prepared than ever to show off how we had further built out our platform. The experience in Boulder was similar to the one in New York, and after presenting before the vibrant New York community, we were excited to demo once more, this time for the Boulder audience.

We’re proud of the work that we have poured into DigitalOcean but more than that, we are grateful and honored to be part of the vibrant New York tech community, and the startup world at large. Presenting at the New York Tech Meetup gave us our first wide-scale audience, helped us accelerate in the TechStars Boulder program, and allowed us to hit the ground running in our goal to be the world’s simplest cloud hosting provider.