• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Tech upstart? ‘Startup Westport’ plants seed for technologies improvement


Mar 18, 2023

Organizers of “Startup Westport” who detailed plans for the technologies initiative to an introductory gathering at the Westport Library had been, from left, Matt Gorin, Stefano Pacifico and Jay Norris. / Photos by Gary Webster

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Can Westport develop to be Silicon Valley East?

Yes, says a group of technologies entrepreneurs, investors and officials — such as 1st Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker — organized with the aim of assisting the town develop to be “the quantity-1 spot for technologies startups in the Northeast outdoors of New York and Boston.”

That is the view of Stefano Pacifico, 1 of the founders of “Startup Westport,” a new technologies initiative, as he introduced the project to added than one particular hundred persons gathered at the Westport Library on Thursday evening. Pacifico, a Westport resident, is the CEO of Epistemic AI, a nonprofit “next generation” search engine for life sciences and biotechnics.

“Ten or 20 years down the road, there’s no lead to Westport can not be a diverse Silicon Valley,” Matt Gorin, co-founder of Contour Venture Partners and the keynote speaker, told the crowd. 

“We have so a lot of elements suitable right here in Westport,” he stated such as investors, technologies enterprises and workers, and a inventive spirit. “Seeds of the ecosystem are beginning to sprout.”

Startup Westport was born when Pacifico and Cliff Sirlin, every single Westport residents, approached Tooker for town help for a “tech initiative” to bring with every single other neighborhood technologies enterprises and other people interested in technologies. When the founding group grew to consist of five other members, the 1st networking occasion was planned to introduce the notion.

When Jay Norris, 1 of the group’s organizers and a speaker at the gathering, took an informal poll of the audience, he identified that about 95 % had been Westport residents, 90 % had been involved in startup ventures and 80 % had been investors.

“We demand to come with every single other in a meaningful way,” stated Norris, a Westport resident who is the CEO and founder of Guesst Software program plan, a firm that leases pc application to retail residence owners and tenants.

Far additional than one particular hundred persons networked Thursday as “Startup Westport” was introduced to the public at the Westport Library. The group’s aim is to make a neighborhood of technologies startups in Westport.

The networking occasion in the library’s Trefz Forum attracted persons of lots of ages, primarily males, but some ladies, circulating all via the location meeting and speaking to other people.

Amongst these attending was Troy Rambo, CEO of Clever Residences Westport, a firm that installs residential and industrial security systems. He was introduced to Startup Westport by Police Chief Foti Koskinas and came to the occasion “to network and brainstorm with persons,” he stated.

Elizabeth Shoup of Westport was there because her daughter is “a data scientist in an energy-connected startup … I wanted to discover out a tiny about her globe,” she stated.

And Tucker Peters, a junior at Staples Greater College, came to the networking occasion “to bounce some strategies off added knowledgeable persons.” 

Amongst the initiative’s future ambitions, Tooker stated, is to provide internship and educational possibilities in technologies for Staples students.

“There’s a lot of talent in this neighborhood,” stated Peter Propp, a Startup Westport organizer and senior vice president of sales and advertising for Knock Media, a user experience agency with TED Talks and Yale University as clientele.

One particular distinct of the group’s ambitions is “to bring in added enterprises and added jobs,” he stated. “There’s a broad array of persons in Westport. You demand persons with strategies and persons with capital to invest.”

Startup Westport plans a larger occasion June 13 at La Plage restaurant at the Inn at Longshore. The organization also has posted a mailing list at its net-web page. 

Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist and journalism teacher for a lot of years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman newspaper for ten years and teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.