New York Business Journal
Zeel CEO: Entrepreneurs in N.Y.C. need to be aware of cost structure
For Zeel CEO Samer Hamadeh, launching a startup in New York is a thrill. The downside, however, are the expenses. The key to handling pricey Manhattan is too keep your startup lean, Hamadeh advised. His company, which touts itself as the innovator of the on-demand massage, has so far taken over San Francisco rival MassageNow and amassed $15 million from a total of 26 investors, including Emil Capital Partners, Slow Ventures, Partech Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures and Spafinder also participated. Even though Hamadeh is looking to bring his brand of tech and relaxation across the country (he's already on the West Coast and in Florida), he hold's a special torch for New York where Zeel got its start. As the latest entrant in our "My N.Y.C." series, the Shake Shack fan has some advice for his fellow Silicon Alley entrepreneurs. What do you like most about the city? For me, New York City is the most vibrant place on the planet. The unmatched diversity of people, the organized chaos in the streets, the bright lights, big city, open-all-night mentality makes for the perfect startup environment. In NYC, we work and play around the clock. I grew up in Fresno, in central California. But when I landed in New York to launch my first startup Vault.com, I knew I’d never leave. The energy of the average New Yorker matched my own and I immediately knew I was home. What is it about N.Y.C. startups that set them apart? Our teamwork. In a way, the notion that Silicon Valley is the startup center of the universe helps NYC. It helps draw the NYC community of tech entrepreneurs together. The diversity of startups in the city helps us synergize powerful collaborations and partnerships. N.Y.C. is home to a tight and tough community of entrepreneurs determined to make it in a tough city, together. Do you have a favorite restaurant/coffee shop/location that you like to frequent? Coffee Shop in Union Square is one of my go-to spots for meetings, meals, or a post-work cocktail. It’s been around since the 1990s and it hasn’t changed a bit – in a good way. It’s been a hub for startup meetings and drinks for decades. The front room at Gramercy Tavern is absolutely fantastic. I have a soft spot for Shake Shack in Madison Square Park any day - well, any day when the weather is good enough to wait on line.