We love helping our community make valuable business connections, and our members Voray take the experience to the next level. Voray organizes smart, curated dinners to help like-minded professionals build long-lasting professional relationships, and it's been incredible seeing the effects firsthand.
We sat down with David Olk, CEO and Co-Founder of Voray, to learn a bit more about the strategy behind the experience and how his business has grown with The Yard. An expert in the small business world, David is a Board Member at Amper Music Inc, Vengo Labs and ShopKeep, a company which he co-founded and helped grow from a "kernel of an idea" and raised $100 million in outside capital. David is also a mentor at TechStars, where he advises entrepreneurs on business development and startup funding. He is Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Business School and is on the board for University Lang Institute of Entrepreneurship.
Voray builds on the widely known concept of networking events but makes them more intimate, effectively curated and arguably more promising. How did the concept come to fruition?
I’ve been part of the NYC start-up community for over a decade as a founder, investor and advisor. I advise 15 companies and sit on three venture-backed boards. One of the things that I’ve noticed throughout it all is the importance of building a network full of authentic business relationships. I think this gets lost in today’s ‘quantity over quality’ mentality.
Voray is fixing this by putting people in a room with the people they need to meet and the business resources they need to know about. This is something I used to do organically by getting my network together for informal drinks. It was always exciting to see the way people would go off and work on things together as a result of an introduction from a trusted source. We're taking that concept to the next level in a more scalable way. At the same time, we’re also offering targeted, ROI-driven brand-building opportunities to businesses who want to be helpful to our community.
How is Voray different from other networking dinners?
True magic is in the experience of being in a room with others who are likely to add value to you, whether it’s by sharing their insight and perspective across the table or through an eventual business collaboration. Our team hand-selects each invitee to make sure that the guest list is relevant to attendees.
What was one of the most interesting connections you’ve seen develop firsthand?
We had a Prince at one of our Vorays and he was interested in building new relationships with the entire room of guests.
Your team has grown tremendously at The Yard. What has your experience been like?
I feel like Voray is more successful because we started at The Yard. Their team is friendly and interested in learning about your business every step of the way. The Yard even signed up to be an early customer when we first started out!
We've also had companies from the community join relevant Voray events. The environment is collaborative and provides the right balance of social stimulation and serious business building combined with a helpful team that goes out of its way to ensure members' success.
What is the most important thing you would share with someone looking to create new and long-lasting business relationships?
Try to become a mentor and advisor to others. Ask how you can help others and support them with their business objectives. Long lasting business relationships are built on trust.
A big thank you to Voray for sharing their story with us. If you'd like to learn more or host a Voray, please click here to sign in (takes 2 seconds)!