This summer, I returned to Hamilton and took my tech startup Shindig to the next level.
I moved out of my Seventh Avenue office, subletting my East Village apartment to a graduating Theta Chi brother and headed to Hamilton for the Entrepreneurs of NY (ENY) startup accelerator.
I’m the co-founder of Shindig, a smartphone app that helps you explore new beers, wines and spirits. Have you looked at a wine list with bewilderment and ended up ordering the second cheapest bottle? Have you been overwhelmed by a tap list and settle for the beer with the funny TV spot? No more. We are a passionate community of drink explorers who track what we drink, share recipes and recommend brands. Shindig is on a mission to make taste exploration fun and easy.
ENY’s Hamilton headquarters – furnished with a video conference room, 3D printer and Ping Pong table – is startup heaven. With a new home at the “Hamilton Hatchery,” our team was extremely productive, shipping three new versions of our iPhone app. We grew our database of 50,000 beers, wines and spirits, created a featured drinker section (highlighting brew masters, bartenders and distillers in our community) and built a drink locater to help drinkers find where drinks are served around you.
ENY allowed us to reconnect with the amazing Colgate network. We talked strategy with successful entrepreneurs like Dan Rosensweig (Chegg, Guitar Hero, Yahoo), David Perry (Google) and Andy Greenfield (Ernst Young NY Entrepreneur of the Year). This made us think about our business in completely new ways.
The mentors inspired us to shift focus from product development and make a larger user growth push. Where would we start? Within days, a Colgate connection helped Shindig get our first review, which drove downloads and helped us become a top 300 free food and drink app.
Two weeks after the program, we headed to Boston to pitch General Catalyst, one of the top tech venture capitalist firms in the world and early investors in Kayak, AirBnB and Snapchat. With more pitches lined up later this month, we’ve never been more comfortable pitching.
Most importantly, ENY created what I believe will be lifetime friendships. I am still in contact with all the other teams about resources and tips for growing our businesses. Starting anything takes a village of friends and the ENY program added a group of passionate, smart entrepreneurs to my village.
As Shindig grows and raises a seed round, I am indebted to the ENY fund for bringing our fledgling company to the next level.