Next Up: Three Months of TechStars Awesome Sauce

28 Mar

Erica Swallow at TechStars NYC

Over the weekend, I had full intentions to leave New York this Sunday for a two-week trip to Utah, where I’d shadow winemaker Danny Bull at Montezuma Canyon Ranch and Vineyards to learn how to plant grapevines and make organic wine — as some of you know, I’ve been on a personal winemaking journey for the past few years, following one of my life goals of starting Swallow Winery.

And my plan for the full month of May was to knock out tons of work while sipping mimosas beachside on some gorgeous beach I had yet to choose.

All of that changed on Sunday night, though, when Lexi Lewtan, a friend and colleagued email introduced me to Eugene Chung, the new managing director of TechStars NYC, previously of NEA fame and currently also wearing VC and indie filmmaker hats — quite honestly I took the meeting because I love TechStars and Eugene’s background sounded oddly intriguing.

I took a Monday afternoon meeting, thinking I’d go in, hear about a really cool position, but ultimately decline, because I had to get back to my massive vineyard and beach travels. But I was in for the surprise of the year — for the first time in my life, I decided to take an unpaid position, merely because it sounded like the best use of my summer and the team I’d be working with sounded like a rockstar combo.

For the next three months, I’ll be working 70-80 hour weeks, missing out on a gazillion coffee dates, annoying all of my friends with party declines, and frankly, having the experience of a lifetime. I can honestly say there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing right now. Ok, except maybe having infinite amounts of cookies delivered to the office to share with my newfound team. But hey, my $5 per day budget isn’t going to allow for that. Trade offs.

I’m stoked to have the opportunity to help the next group of amazing startups build awesome digital media and press strategies as one of six baller TechStar NYC Associates, working alongside Eugene and Program Manager KJ Singh.

So, friends and family, believe me when I say I love you and for the next three months, I’m going to miss seeing your beautiful faces. Please don’t hate me if I don’t answer your phone calls, only respond to your text messages after midnight, and miss everything you invite me to this summer. Just know that I’m only following my passions, and I’m thinking about you all every moment of the way. At the end of this, you’re going to get to spend time with an improved version of me — one that probably spent the past few months sleeping under desks and on couches, meeting epic people and seeing amazing products built right before her eyes.

For you and for me, this is a long-term investment for a better me and a better world. Let’s do this!

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6 Responses to “Next Up: Three Months of TechStars Awesome Sauce”

  1. gdilla May 23, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Congrats!

  2. Erica Swallow March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    For another quick perspective of the startup love and unbound dedication shared by the TechStars NYC Associates, check out this blog post by teammate Tak Lo, an Army vet turned international entrepreneur:

    http://taklo.co/post/46030516611/as-of-today-im-officially-a-techstars-nyc

  3. Joaquin Roca March 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Sounds awesome, Erica. Good luck!

    • Erica Swallow March 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Your luck is much appreciated!! I will probably need it to get through all the sleep deprivation I’m about to experience!

  4. Leo Widrich (@LeoWid) March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    That is one exciting opportunity Erica. It’s been amazing to follow along with your progress on Facebook seeing you go from startup hustle to startup hustle. Keep me posted how it goes with TechStars! :)

    • Erica Swallow March 28, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      I know!!! I’m so excited. And thanks for being excited for me, too! I’ll be tweeting it up. So that’s probably the best place to follow my TechStars trail. :P

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