Noted Techie Show TechCrunch Disrupt Lands in Brooklyn, Deputy Borough Prez Keynotes

Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna speaks at the show. Photo by Robert S. Anthony

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Location, location, location. One of the world’s most interesting tech conferences, TechCrunch Disrupt, famous for its reality show–style competitions between early-stage startups, has moved to Brooklyn.

TechCrunch, a San Francisco–based media company that covers tech startup news, was born in founder Michael Arrington’s Atherton, Calif., home. For years, its New York conference took place in Manhattan, but this year it moved to Red Hook, where the show opened Monday and runs through Wednesday.

“There are a whole range of things that that go into choosing a location for Disrupt — like the fact that we’re expecting between 1,800 and 2,000 attendees, so we need a venue that’s big but not a giant convention center,” TechCrunch senior writer Anthony Ha told Brownstoner.

“To a certain extent, it’s more about finding the right venue than it is about choosing a specific neighborhood,” he continued. “At the same time, since Disrupt is at its heart a startup conference, it feels right to move the event to a slightly scrappier, cozier neighborhood, rather than the touristy part of midtown. Plus, we’re in a borough that’s been the home to some of New York’s big success stories, like Kickstarter and Etsy,” he said, referring to the two Brooklyn-based tech companies.

Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna kicked off the event, in contrast to past years in Manhattan when then-Mayor Bloomberg gave the keynote. “Brooklyn is open for business. It’s your beta lab,” she told the crowd of entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on Bowne Street.

Brooklyn has become increasingly popular with tech companies such as Greenpoint-based Kickstarter that might have previously coveted space in Manhattan’s tech corridor in the Flatiron District. New “creative office” complexes aimed at tech startups are under construction all over the borough, including Dumbo Heights and 200 Water in Dumbo, 25 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, and the Bushwick loft area.

This year, some of the Brooklyn-based companies participating in the event include biofabricated leather maker Modern Meadow and startup accelerator Brooklyn Innovation.

“It sends a message to the rest of the country that the tech community is more than just Manhattan,” New York University Tandon School of Engineering Vice Dean Kurt H. Becker told amNew York of TechCrunch’s move.

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