How Tangent Pioneers took Manhattan

The Tangent Pioneers programme run by Trinity College Dublin sends start-ups for a week-long intensive programme in the US each year. You can follow their experiences here, and on #TangentPioneers on Twitter.

Charlie Butler, co-founder of Bounce Insights

Young dark-haired man in white shirt.

Our week in New York on the Tangent Pioneers programme has been an incredible experience so far. It really puts into perspective the size difference between Dublin and New York. It’s my favourite place in the world as a tourist; and now even more so as someone hoping to scale their start-up here in the future. The energy around the city is just fascinating, with the sheer volume of people making it an incredible place to do business.

My favourite part of the week has been meeting the Irish people that have successfully scaled their companies here. From Oisín Hanrahan in Handy, to Daire Hickey in 150Bond, and Khalehla and everyone at BCG DV, I always think as a young entrepreneur, you learn the most from listening and applying the learnings of people who have been there and done that. The practicality within the Q&As was invaluable, and the most interesting aspect I took from those sit-downs was that the power of networking still holds in NYC despite its size.

The biggest learning I took from this week was to never settle, and to constantly challenge the way you’re currently doing things. You can’t sit still in New York, and that’s how you stay competitive and innovative. This was the case with some ideas that KJ from Techstars gave us around white-labelling our app or using SMS to acquire users, routes that we had potentially neglected in recent months.

It was great to close out the week with the LaunchBox alumni pitches from Artomatix, Change Donations and FoodCloud who continue to prove that it can be done. I think there is often a slight come-down following an accelerator programme, but this week has done well in reigniting the flame for us in our journey as we begin to raise our Seed around and continue to much bigger challenges in the coming months. 

Aimee-Louise Carton, co-founder of KeepAppy

Smiling girl with blonde hair.

Landing in JFK was disorientating to say the least, as the rain outside was more comparable to that of Dublin than what I had expected from the Instagram images of the sun setting over a crisp Autumn in New York! Rain aside, it was clear we had landed in the Big Apple and adventure awaited.

The Tangent Pioneers program was a week I will never forget; bursting with endless opportunities and energy, it far exceeded my every expectation. We were fortunate to meet numerous successful entrepreneurs and advisors, who generously shared their knowledge and offered to help in whatever way they could.

Additionally, this was my first true introduction to the Trinity Alumni network, a wonderful community of passionate and fascinating individuals who all were eager to see us and our young start-ups succeed. Meeting the alumni and instantly connecting over our shared experiences, was the highlight of the trip as it made it so clear how much support and help this community can offer.

Katelyn Prendiville, founder of Two White Socks

Young woman with blonde hair and white jacket.

My first impressions of New York as a business/start-up hub have been favourable; people aren’t exaggerating when they say that this is a thriving, forward-thinking and fast-paced city! With so many businesses around, I’d venture that it’s a great place to be based to build a network and be pushed to innovate by the sheer level of competition. (In saying that, I don’t think it would be a great place to try and bootstrap/operate on a lean budget; everything is rather pricey…!)

As one of the Tangent Pioneers, I was interested to learn about the level of funding available for start-ups, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising with Wall street being located so close by. The networking event with Columbia University brought light to this as they explained some of the venture funds available purely to students… Not to mention a start-up pitch competition with a prize pool of $300,000!

One of my favourite parts about the experience so far has been interacting with the LaunchBox Alumni teams. Not only are they incredibly inspirational, but they are so generous with their time and have given me (and the other LaunchBox 2019 teams) some great advice. 

As well as the programme activities, I was lucky enough to set up a meeting with the marketing manager of an equine company here in the USA. They were able to give me some great insights into the horse industry here, as well as strategies to enter the market and events to attend in the region.

Manhattan image: Michael Discenza on Unsplash  

Published: 31 October, 2019