Lines bent around the block for entrance to last night’s show-stopping, inaugural Raise Cache event at the State Armory in New York City. NYC’s startup scene community members, from founders to Venture Capitalists to startup interns, attended the well-publicized event to raise $100,000 for hackNY, a unique organization bringing Technology-oriented students to the City for the summer to intern at prestigious startups.
The venue was massive and the attendee list was similarly expansive. The event showcased New York City’s style of “go big or go home,” said Rebecca Zhou, the event’s Producer, in her interview with We Are NY Tech. “We made Raise Cache into the event of all events, with a mixer, a fashion show, a party and gift bags, raffle prizes, auction, open bar, photobooths, DJ tournament and the lofty goal of raising $100,000 in one night.”
The event impressed. Attendees’ favorite moments included the fashion show complete with Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson strutting down the catwalk flashing an “occupy” sign, Tech-celeb DJs like foursquare’s Dennis Crowley spinning tracks, and photo booths to capture the fine-dressed outfits of the NYC startup community members.
All the proceeds from the event are going to the hackNY organization, founded by faculty members from New York University and Columbia University with the mission to “federate the next generation of hackers for the New York innovation community.” The organization accepts students from all majors as summer fellows to join NYC startups as interns. The idea is to foster within future technology leaders a deep interest in the NYC startup scene, and to provide NYC startups with top-notch talent. The hackNY fellows are mentored throughout the summer, including from hackNY advisors like Etsy CTO Chad Dickerson, 4chan founder Christopher Poole, and more. 2011 Fellow Cemre Güngör, who joined Etsy earlier this year, said in an hackNY video, “the best part was getting to meet a lot of smart people.” The next deadline to apply for hackNY’s upcoming summer fellowship is December 31st, and the organization also supports numerous hackathons in the City on an ongoing basis too.
Thursday night’s event was a celebration not only of hackNY, but of New York’s burgeoning startup community as a whole. Sponsoring companies were not the only ones recognized; startups that contributed technology resources were visible as well, like Turntable.fm crafting mobile crowd-sourced song voting during the event’s DJ sets. On the Fashion front, startups in the clothing and e-retail space were well-showcased. Throughout the Raise Cache fashion show, startups like Bonobos, Rent the Runway, and many others were featured prominently. As their stunning styles swaggered down the runway, it provided a sense of New York City’s Tech scene taking home-field advantage on industries that have traditionally flourished in the City, like Fashion. A mock Karl Lagerfeld was even spotted in the third row.
Whether attendees were there for the fashion, philanthropy, or free cocktails, Raise Cache was an energizing event that galvanized and celebrated the NYC technology community while raising money for a great cause. From all of the tweets about the event, seems like everyone would come out to a party like this one again soon.
Doreen Bloch is a strategy consultant, writer and entrepreneur in New York City. Her latest projects include The Coolest Startups in America and Poshly.com.