Dina Kaplan, co-founder of blip.tv, was one of the few New York tech community entrepreneurs who spoke at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s MediaNYC 2020 announcement today. “When we started blip four years ago, everyone kept asking, when are you going to move to Silicon Valley?” Ms. Kaplan said about her company, which hosts and distributes more than 48,000 original Web shows. Ms. Kaplan, a former news reporter for WNBC in New York, founded in Blip.tv in May 2005 with Mike Hudack, Justin Day, Jared Klett and Charles Hope. “I very much look forward to the day when a San Francisco entrepreneur is asked, ‘When are you moving to New York City?'”
“For too long in New York City, the smartest business people have joined large companies rather than starting them, as they often do, in California,” she continued. “For too long in New York, the most talented engineers have joined existing big businesses, rather than starting their own, or becoming CTOs of really promising startups. For too long, people like Mark Zuckerberg, who, remember went to college at Harvard on the East Coast, have moved to Silicon Valley to start their companies and people like Larry and Sergey [Google’s founders] moved to California to attend Stanford and start a small company there.”
Ms. Kaplan said the tech community already has a base fostered by organizations like the New York Tech Meetup and her own Founders Club to connect the city’s digital entrepreneurs with venture capitalists, other digital executives and advertisers. “However, we can’t do it all on our own,” she said. Mr. Bloomberg’s plan will “bring our efforts to a whole new level.”
Standing among city suits, IAC chief financial officer Tom McInerney, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, Huffington Post chief executive Eric Hippeau, and DFJ Gotham Managing Partner Danny Schultz, Ms. Kaplan was also one of two women who stood behind Mr. Bloomberg as he made his announcement. Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, was the other. Ms. Kaplan told a story about meeting Gerry Laybourne, who partnered with Oprah to create Oxygen Media, when blip.tv was just a year old in 2006. “She gave us our first revenue deal ever and after the deal was signed she hung back to talk to me and to whisper and say, ‘I believe that my number one priority must be to enable the next generation of women in digital media in making their lives a little bit easier,'” Ms. Kaplan recalled. “Her mentorship changed my life and it helped lead to the success of blip.tv. That deal lead to other deals and lead to our first round of financing, which enabled us to go full time.”
Ms. Kaplan said it’s the community and the city’s job to attract the best young minds in tech. “We want them to choose New York to build and scale their digital media companies,” she said. So, hey, future Mark Zuckerbergs, when are you moving to Brooklyn?
Correction Appended: An early version of this article misidentified Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, who was standing behind Mr. Bloomberg as he made his announcement.