In the latest iteration of Startup Grind New Haven’s monthly speaker series, 110 Elm City residents, students and entrepreneurs gathered at Gateway Community College Tuesday evening to hear Andrew Bartholomew ’09, vice president of Squarespace — a website creation tool — discuss his role in strategizing the service’s expansion.
The event, sponsored by local electricity company United Illuminating, included a networking portion prior to a fireside chat and a question-and-answer session with Bartholomew. In a conversation with Adam Muniz, director of Startup Grind New Haven — an organization powered by Google to connect entrepreneurs within regions — Bartholomew discussed the competition Squarespace navigates in the website creation tool industry. He also discussed his career trajectory and the role of data in his work, which includes everything from criminal investigation to scientific discovery.
“[Websites are] an important tool to allow people to compete,” Bartholomew said. “Looking professional is important to being taken seriously, and people need to craft their own story online.”
Founded in 2004, Squarespace now has over one million customers and has raised $78.5 million in venture capital funding. The company employs approximately 500 people spread over three cities: New York, Portland and Dublin.
Rohit Sharma, a director with the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven, praised Muniz for attracting a diversity of speakers to New Haven and focusing Startup Grind New Haven’s events on their personal stories. Future iterations of the monthly event will host speakers including the general manager of Uber Connecticut and the inventor of the Segway.
While Startup Grind New Haven’s previous six events were held at city co-working space, The Grove, Tuesday’s was the first to be hosted at Gateway Community College, allowing the event to be free of charge and open to students who otherwise may not have attended.
“Startup Grind New Haven [is] critical to shaping and growing a vibrant economic landscape that is knowledge-based and tech-enabled; one that is impactful locally but also connected globally,” Nicole Grant ’98, economic development specialist at UI, said. “We want to nurture the efforts to enable this kind of ecosystem in our service territory and neighboring communities.”
Grant added that UI chose to sponsor the Startup Grind’s event featuring Squarespace to support the expansion of dialogue among a broader community of entrepreneurs.