400 startups were given 60 seconds each to pitch the hacks they cobbled together during a 24 Red Bull binge at the TechCruch Disrupt hackathon. That meant a lot of disappointed programmers hit the open bar hard at the Hudson Hotel on Monday night.
“Path is throwing the real party tonight,” said a shellacked founder, tugging on his badge. “If I knew Mike Arrington wasn’t going to be here I would have gotten some sleep.”
John Biggs, editor of Crunchgear, was similarly concerned. “My boss isn’t here,” he said glumly, leaning against a couch in the back room of the hotel basement. Betabeat dutifully reported what we had learned about the Path party. “Shit, I knew I chose poorly,” he said. At least he had gotten a good chunk of TechCrunch equity before the acquisition by AOL. “Yeah, I’m buying myself a helicopter,” Biggs said in a dour tone, before heading back towards the bar.
Aaron Crayford, the founder of Mighty Messenger, still in beta and waitlisted for Startup Alley, was more upbeat. “Money is not the issue. My good friend, he also invested, has been through 19 IPOs.” Crayford was in from San Francisco, but eager to cull feedback in the Big Apple. “The guy is a New York Times best seller. I came out here to test the waters, you know, to see how how people reacted to the product.”
There were investors in the crowd as well. First Round’s Charlie O’Donnell fielded questions from a rotating cast of three or four eager young techies. Skot Leach, just in from the West Coast, was particularly excited. “I just started running an incubator, basically a dream job. I couldn’t believe what they were telling me, you know. A blank check to invest in companies, a salary and some of the upside. I’m used to working with zombies.” Quite literally. Mr. Leach’s previous venture was a social network for zombies that doubled as a platform to crowdsource material for a film on the undead.
Out on the dance floor Frank Denbow was putting all challengers to shame with some sweet uprock and b-boy power moves. People began throwing singles. The number of onlookers to dancers stood at about 20 to one. Frustrated founders and drunk, happy programmers showered their braver counterparts with cash. “Bootstrapping strategy,” wrote Mr. Denbow, who recently quit his full-time job. “Dance for dollars at #tcdisrupt afterparty.”