Testing out the WCNY Network — Tony Andreoli, W’97
20 September, 2018
category: Affinity Groups, Club, Portraits, Real Estate
Tony Andreoli, W’97
VP of Business Networking, Wharton Club of New York
Partner, Tribeca Workshop.
Tony Andreoli, W’97, has been a stalwart volunteer for WCNY. His current role, VP of Business Networking, includes a huge portion of the Club’s activities. As he took on this role to help others leverage their Wharton connections, Tony himself got connected to a new startup!
What have you been up to lately?
I’m a partner in a blockchain/fintech venture studio, Tribeca Workshop, that is in beta with two other WCNY members, Eric Bashford, WG’88, and Nick Petkoff, G’02, WG’02.
We’re building blockchain companies in three verticals — fintech, real estate and medical/healthcare. When I say we are building, that means we are conceiving the idea, building teams and then scaling the companies that we build. It’s different from an accelerator model, where an individual would come in with an idea, and we give them money and mentorship.
Our first startup focuses on matching residential landlords and tenants in New York City with one another and using blockchain to secure the applicants’ identity and financial information, which is necessary for the rental approval process. It will make the process more simple and efficient.
If an alum came in with a startup idea where blockchain is applicable in the fintech, real estate or healthcare space, then we would begin thinking how we would build it out. That alum could be part of the team, bringing in their skills and resources.
How are you validating your current idea?
Through our experience as landlords or tenants. All three partners have experience practicing real estate in New York City from different angles. We may also launch a brokerage for apartment rentals, as an adjunct to test the technology.
You are responsible for the WCNY Business Development Groups (Leads Councils). How are they doing?
The purpose of the Business Development (BD) Groups is to grow trust and friendship among members, facilitate sharing references, network, and even conduct business. We have so many brilliant alums. Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur or employee, transactions are rooted in commonalities, friendship and trust. You can’t isolate yourself.
Think about it. In business, you need a balance. One reason that cities are thriving is that people are all living in close proximity and converse with one another easily. You need to interact.
We made two recent changes that people should know about:
1) Any regular dues-paying WCNY member ($95 per year versus the $500 per year requirement in the past) can now apply to a BD Group.
2) We opened the BD Groups to the entire Penn community to broaden the professions that can participate. Go to the Events page on the Club website, and you can find which group fits your schedule.
WCNY’s affinity group panels are often headlined by industry leaders, and the content at these intimate events is one of the greatest values provided by the WCNY. What are the current active affinity groups?
Wharton Arts Network (WhAN)
Wharton Asset Management Network (WAMN)
Wharton Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Affinity Group (WBCG)
Wharton CFO Network (WhCFO)
Wharton Fintech Network (WFTN)
Wharton Hedge Fund Network (WHFN)
Wharton Real Estate Investment Group (WREI)
Wharton Retail Network (WhRN)
Wharton Single Family Office Network (SFO)
For more details, go to https://www.whartonny.com/article.html?aid=374. You can also go to the Club website and click on Groups and then Affinity Groups.
WCNY is accepting volunteers to chair or co-chair the following affinity groups:
Wharton Investment Management
Wharton Media & Entertainment (WMEN)
Wharton Private Equity
To volunteer, contact Jordan Halperin, W’98, WCNY’s VP of Volunteer Services, at Volunteer@WhartonNY.com.
And you recently founded the Wharton Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Affinity Group.
What you have to love is the latitude that the Club offers. The Club allows entrepreneurship to thrive. I had a desire to start a blockchain affinity group. Someone introduced me to Anju Marempudi (also featured in this issue). I realized how much experience he had in data science and asked him to speak at our inaugural event. Now, I have a new ally and friend. Anju gave a deep talk on blockchain to about 60 people. I knew Nick Petkoff from the real estate affinity group that he co-chairs (WREI). Afterward, Nick introduced me to Eric Bashford, and I learned that both of them were interested in creating a blockchain accelerator. Since then, WBCG held a second event featuring Lane Rettig, G’14, WG’14, who is the founder of Crypto NYC.
Talk about your experience at Wharton.
I don’t know if my background is typical for a Wharton student. I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My grandfathers were coal miners and factory workers. I didn’t know what consultants or investment bankers did, or what a fraternity was. Dad was a cop in Wilkes-Barre, with two steady thoughts about my future:
1) Education is vital to success.
2) I should be a corporate lawyer.
So, after graduating, I attended law school at Villanova.
You often hear about students from difficult backgrounds, who started out clueless, but somehow caught on, and rose through the ranks. But there may be others like me, who continue seeking to carve unique paths for themselves.
That is partly what motivates me to be active in WCNY. I want these affinity groups and leads councils to help undergrads coming out of school who had a similar background or whatever background they may have. Alumni can be there to help one another. The Club provides opportunities each week for us all to grow. Take advantage of those opportunities.