Aussie web entrepreneur named “one to watch” in New York mag

Sydney-born web entrepreneur Haig Kayserian has been named one of the “People to Watch in Silicon Valley” in Crain’s New York Business magazine, alongside the founders of Foursquare, Tumblr and Kickstarter.


Crain’s New York Business, founded by Crain Communications, is an online and print publication covering the city’s business news, including a list of “People to Watch in Silicon Valley”.


The list features the top web talents in New York, who are “reshaping the roles that technology and new media play in the city’s economies and our daily lives”.


Members of the list include Tim Armstrong and Arianna Huffington, who will lead the new Huffington Post/AOL news group; Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare; David Karp, chief executive of Tumblr; and Rob Kalin, founder of Etsy.


Kayserian is the founder and chief executive of KAYWEB, which was founded in Australia seven years ago. KAYWEB is a web and mobile application development company with staff in the United States, Australia and the Philippines.


The company has delivered more than 150 websites and applications, including real estate listings, online dating, social networking, and consumer relationship management.


It recently announced the formation of a new angel investment group in New York, titled KAYWEB Angels, which will also focus on web and mobile start-ups.


KAYWEB Angels is different to traditional angel investors because instead of providing cash for equity, it provides development services and mentoring in exchange for equity.


According to Kayserian, there is a lack of engineering talent for web start-ups in New York, hence the formation of an angel investment group.


“We have long been hearing about the need for quality engineering talent to keep up with the demands of ideas-centric New York City,” Kayserian says.


“New York start-up founders of the non-technical variety have long struggled to find skilful, technical co-founders.”


“These individuals are not often immediately monetised in order to be able to afford the services of the limited developer talent pool available in the big city. KAYWEB Angels [was] founded to fill this gap and plug New York’s developer hole.”

“We will provide that talent and our considerable network of resources to entrepreneurs who can convince us that their start-up concept is great. We will then join them on their journeys as co-founders.”


To be recognised by Crain’s New York Business is humbling, Kayserian says, but he insists KAYWEB is “just getting started”.


“If people are watching [KAYWEB] because Crain’s New York Business told them to, it means we have to start delivering and making sure their eyes stay on us and on the great businesses we invest in,” he says.


KAYWEB employs 20 full-time staff, including 14 programmers specialising in developing websites and applications using various languages and technologies.


This is complemented by a mentoring network headed by the company’s board of directors, including Sidney Minassian of Silicon Valley start-up consultancy GrowthQ, VMware executive Shant Soghomonian, and start-up expert John Buckman of Buckman Group – Corporate Counsel.


KAYWEB Angels currently has three New York projects as active investments and is inviting applicants to submit their ideas.


“We will look to take in two more investments by the end of July 2011 in order to take our total number to five. Then we will invite applications once every quarter,” Kayserian says.


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