NEW YORK--A year ago, a handful of local entrepreneurs got together and threw a party called The Founders Club. It took over a private residence, albeit a very upscale one, in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood, and was essentially a low-buzz gathering of Gotham tech enthusiasts who wanted to schmooze.
My, how times have changed. Wednesday night marked the fifth occurrence of the semi-sporadic Founders Club parties, and the organizers (most prominently Blip.tv co-founder Dina Kaplan, Paltalk creator Joel Smernoff, and event planner Celia Chen of Notes on a Party) had stepped it up a few notches. This time around, it was held in ABC's Good Morning America studios in Times Square--and there was a bar in the elevator.
No, I'm not kidding. Upon entering the space, everyone was treated to a desperately needed glass of wine between the ground and second floors. I guess they couldn't wait.
The attendees were a combination of big media's digital gurus, venture capitalists, and local start-up entrepreneurs, overall amassing quite the who's-who of New York tech culture. The roll call, in part, included DoubleClick founder and Alley Corp. chief Kevin Ryan, Greycroft Partners' Alan Patricof, TheLadders' Marc Cenedella (I told him I'd seen one of his company's ads on TV while on the treadmill at the gym), George Kliavkoff and Jessica Schell of NBC Universal, Disney-ABC's Bernard Gershon, InterActiveCorp exec Jason Rapp, CollegeHumor co-founders Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen, former AOL exec and Pilot Group overlord Bob Pittman, Google's president of advertising and commerce Tim Armstrong, Digg CEO Jay Adelson, and a whole bunch of representatives from sponsor Bain Capital Ventures as well as a smattering of other venture firms (some of which I'd heard of, some of which I hadn't).
Representing the city's prolific new-media and blogger culture were Rocketboom host Joanne Colan, Mainstreet's Caroline Waxler, Gawker Media's Nick Denton and Gaby Darbyshire, TreeHugger (now Discovery Communications-owned) founder Graham Hill, and Curbed publisher Lockhart Steele, who told me that his blog network's current plans involve taking over the world. Watch out for that one.
A few folks were willing to dish out details on their companies--perhaps it was the martinis being served copiously at the bar. Tumblr founder David Karp told me about his red-hot micro-blogging start-up's plan to handle a revenue model--he plans to create a central "destination" homepage showcasing cool and popular Tumblr content and then serve ads on it.
I also talked to Carlos Garcia, co-founder and CEO of Scrapblog, who will be welcoming a whole lot of Web-ish folks to his home city for the Future of Web Apps conference next week. Scrapblog is hosting one of the event's official parties--I hope they know what they're getting into!
LX.TV founder Joseph Varet, whose company was recently acquired by NBC Universal, told me that his video site's content will start appearing on Los Angeles-area stations soon, and that a new show is in the works, too--but he wouldn't say anything more about that one.
As for the press corps, I was in the company of quite a few other tech reporters, like Fortune's Jessi Hempel, the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro, the New York Times' Brian Stelter and Saul Hansell, TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld, Silicon Alley Insider editor Henry Blodget, and Valleywag assistant editor Nicholas Carlson, who wanted to know why so many people didn't want to talk to him.
Don't worry, buddy, I don't think it's anything personal.
Official photos, courtesy of an event photographer, are on Flickr.