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TiE New York is where I got my entry into the world of entrepreneurship and start-ups. I was speaking at a TiE conference in June 2005 and was approached by two PhD students from NYU who wanted help in launching an on-line games business in India. Help specifically meaning getting a business plan done and raising funds. I mentored them for six months and there was no money coming. By then I got very close to them, believed in the business model and co-founded Games 24×7 Inc in Feb 2006. I agreed to put in $50k seed capital which was tranched out over phases and was the initial CEO. The money lasted a year, and by then there was enough meat to the idea that angel money started coming in. After multiple rounds, a total of more than a $1m was raised by the time the fully in-house developed game (www.rummycircle.com) was ready at which point we raised institutional funds. By this time the two PhD students had moved to India and had fully taken over the running of the company, the fund-raising and to be honest, have done a far superior job than I could ever have done myself. The company has now been running profitably for many years. The learnings as an entrepreneur and as an investor have been greater in some ways to what 30 years of corporate life taught me. Had it not been for the Tie NY conference in 2005 this might not have happened.
Since then, the returns from that business have allowed me to invest in five other start-up ventures, all having a TiE New York connection. Two of these came up via our TiE NY Angels group (www.fitbark.com . https://vectorly.io/ ) and we have a number TiE NY Charter Members taking part in these investments. Three others came from personal connections arising out of the prior start-up investments (http://buddihealth.ai/, https://www.babydestination.com/home , https://resoluteinnovation.com/ ) . You may notice that the six investments are all in disparate sectors and I sometimes get asked what am I doing? The connecting theme for me has been people ie the founders. If the connect with them is super strong, and business model is something I believe in, then it is a go. New York with its eight million people brings about the serendipity for these kinds of connections to be made, and for me TiE New York has been the place for that.