Talkin’ Tech with Nick Kosinski of Odoo

Talkin’ Tech is a series where the Douglas Development team chat with some of the movers and shakers of Buffalo’s tech and start-up scene to get their insight into how the city has evolved and is continuing to evolve in those spaces. 

Check out our chat with Nick Kosinski, Director of East Coast operations at Odoo. 

Describe Odoo in 1-2 sentences: 

Odoo is an integrated suite of business management applications. 

What do you do for Odoo?

I oversee Odoo’s East Coast operations, so that includes everything from Sales, Professional Services, Support, Technical, etc. 

How did you end up in (or back in) Buffalo? 

I started at Odoo in 2015 in New York City. I was selling for Odoo there, and I got pretty involved and interested in the technical side of the product and branched out. While selling, I continued to learn more and more, and I got involved in some of the different areas of the business. That passion and underlying interest has allowed me to seek out an opportunity to grow with the company  and ultimately establish an East Coast office. 

We have an office of about 550 in Belgium today, and 250 in San Francisco. When establishing an East Coast office, the company wasn’t interested in having it in New York City, primarily due to saturation of the market. In New York City, there are thousands of technology companies we would have had to compete with from an employment standpoint, a compensation standpoint, relevance standpoint. We saw that there were some more interesting tier two cities that possessed the resources we would need to be successful, such as student population, general cost of doing business, culture, geographical location. For those reasons, we decided to go against the grain, think outside the New York City box, and we found Buffalo and moved into Seneca One. I jumped on the opportunity to come back here. 

After growing up in Buffalo, moving away, and then coming back here, what has surprised you the most about the tech/start-up scene in Buffalo?

I think it’s both surprising and unsurprising. Everyone kind of has an idea of Buffalo being a city of good neighbors, a city that has a lot of camaraderie. Buffalo is full of people that see themselves as a community. A sort of underdog mentality blankets all of that. I knew that growing up here, of course. When I worked in tech in New York for some time it was very much a competitive space. When I came back here to Buffalo, it was kind of the opposite of that. It was an environment where the person standing next to you, the one standing behind you, the one in front of you, are all interested in seeing you grow, and you are interested in seeing them grow. I think that mentality is rooted in the theory that a rising tide lifts all boats. I think that is the most compelling and interesting facet of the tech scene here in Buffalo. It’s amazing to see how people work together and to see how people know that they need to come together to make a shift as a community. People work towards a common objective. They collaborate. They cooperate. It’s not just surprising, but it really reminds me to be proud of where I am from and to work that much harder to make a shift happen. 

Obviously it is a unique year, and we are starting to see a lot of companies rethink their operations. How do you think COVID has impacted how companies will choose where to be located and set-up their offices?

Obviously COVID is a nightmare, and we all look forward to the day when it’s behind us. When it comes to long-term impacts, a lot of people are looking through the lens of the individual employee, like this is an opportunity for employees to work remotely, to never go into an office again, to work from the beach. While that is obviously true and the right move for some companies, it definitely won’t be the case for most. Big companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook are buying up commercial real estate and betting against the idea of remote-only moving forward. 

Looking through the lens of the employer and the ability to scale a team and deliver services remotely provides a different perspective. I think that the long-term impact will be that companies no longer need to be in cities like New York, Seattle, or San Francisco in order to deliver quality services across the continent or even the globe. For that reason, they will look elsewhere for their offices and headquarters I suspect. Obviously there are other factors, like access to resources, that need to be considered, but companies will definitely be looking for ways to save where they can. The simple reason that remote-only work isn’t here to stay is that the collaborative impact of being in the office, especially in the tech space where oftentimes the products are complex and there are steep learning curves, cannot be optimized with work-from-home. Remote work can create huge costs of both money and time for companies trying to rapidly create a culture, scale up operations, and more. We don’t yet have the technology to fully replicate in-office collaboration for remote work, in my opinion. 

What’s the best thing about working in Seneca One? 

We’ve been in Seneca One since early September. The best thing is the collaboration, being able to buzz down the elevator and see familiar faces who work at different companies like M&T Bank and 43North. Being able to see people, chat with them, exchange ideas with them, learn from them, and having them be able to learn things from us has a tremendous impact on the evolution of what we’re trying to create both here at Seneca One and in the Buffalo community more broadly. 

What Greg Baker, Sean Heidinger, Sam Soltis, and the Douglas Development team are doing is really working. It’s really a long-term plan. It’s incredible to watch them show up day in and day out to realize this great Seneca One vision . It’s an incredible project and everyone is really involved in the community. It’s more than just a building.  

Is Odoo currently hiring?

Odoo is absolutely hiring. We are hiring for Account Executives at the moment. If you are someone who is interested in technology and helping businesses operate more efficiently, then by all means reach out. 

What Buffalo food did you miss the most when you were living in New York City?

LaNova pizza with blue cheese, specifically from the one on Main. With charred pepperonis for sure. 

Here are Four Ways to Burn Off That Turkey In and Around Seneca One

Four Ways to Burn Off That Turkey In and Around Seneca One

After (or before!) you get gobbling this Thanksgiving, you might want to get going and get that blood flowing. Here are some ideas on how to keep things fit and fun in and around downtown Buffalo this holiday week. Burn that turkey or earn that extra helping of mashed potatoes! 

  • Turkey Trot (Virtually)

This year’s 125th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot in Buffalo is going to be looking a little different than in year’s past. Delaware Ave will be much quieter on Thursday without its costumed runners and cheering fans at water (or beer) stops, but you can still participate in this year’s virtual event! Experienced runners or hungover walkers can complete the 8km race wherever they would like, anytime between Thursday, November 26 and Sunday, November 29. Plus all participants will not only receive a t-shirt, but they will also receive a commemorative mask. How’s that for peak 2020? 

  • Take a Waterfront Run

Bundle up and take a run around Canalside for a quick workout. Although it is much quieter in the wintertime than it is in the summer, you can still head over and enjoy the fresh air and great views. Looking to clock some more miles? Try the Wellness Trail at Outer Harbor, a nice green break from Buffalo’s industrial heart. 

Maybe if you’re lucky, your run will be enhanced by the smell of Cheerios wafting from General Mills.

  • Take A Hike

Don’t forget that Buffalo has easy access to the natural wonders of Niagara Falls! Drive on up, or take a train from the brand new Exchange Street station just steps from Seneca One. From the Niagara Gorge Overlook to the more challenging Devil’s Hole, Niagara Falls has hikes suitable for the whole family, from the kids to the more experienced outdoors people. 

  • Hustle at Home

Now more than ever there are options to break a sweat at home! Every week Canalside drops a Funday Fitness video that you can do from anywhere in the world. Other local gyms and fitness studios are also getting creative to offer classes you can do from home, like Space On Seneca’s Virtual Yoga, Barre Centric’s Virtual Studio, Sweat716, Boxstar On-Demand, and many more. 

Residents of Seneca One are especially lucky to have 24/7 access to a state-of-the-art fitness center, including a shiny new Peloton Tread+ for those trying to replicate the boutique fitness experience at their residential gym. 

The Future of Fitness at Seneca One

Health and wellness is definitely at home at Seneca One for both residents and visitors! While there are limits on how we can sweat and fuel up together, we are excited for everything on deck for healthy living in downtown Buffalo. When it’s safe to do so, Seneca One will continue partnering with local businesses to host creative and fun fitness and social events for the community, like our Urban Runs with Flying Bison Brewing Company and Yoga at Seneca One with Space on Seneca

When the city thaws and Reddy Bikeshare season starts, you can grab a bike right outside of Seneca One to cycle around and explore the city.

After your workouts, you’ll also be able to fuel up at The Blend at Seneca One. This local favorite mobile protein shake business is excited to find a more permanent home at Seneca One. 

Interested in the apartments at Seneca One? Head here for more info:  https://senecaonebuffalo.com/apartments/

Douglas Development, M&T Bank Host Drive-Thru Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway Helping 500 Families in the Buffalo Community 

Douglas Development, M&T Bank Host Drive-Thru Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway Helping 500 Families in the Buffalo Community 

Douglas Development and M&T Bank announced they will donate 500 frozen turkeys to families in Buffalo, NY, in time for Thanksgiving. The donation is part of the companies’ ongoing missions to help build strong communities.  

Like our partners at M&T Bank, Douglas Development and the team at Seneca One are committed to giving back to the community, and with the difficulties this year has brought, helping our neighbors is more important than ever,” said Douglas Jemal, principal of Douglas Development. This donation of 500 fresh frozen turkeys is a practical way to assist families in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. We are honored to partner with the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department in distributing the turkeys to ensure they get to those who are in need.  

Turkeys will be given on first-come, first-get basis at on Monday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. at the Seneca One, 1 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY 14203.  

COVID-19 safety precautions will be observed during the distribution. Those interested in received a turkey are asked to remain in their car and enter the drive-through at the intersection of Main and Seneca Streets. There is no need to pre-register. All families needing help are welcome.  

“We’re grateful for Douglas Development and all the volunteers for helping make this donation of 500 fresh frozen turkeys possible. No family table in our community need be without a turkey and trimming this Thanksgiving,” Shelley Drake, regional president at M&T Bank. 

The giveaway is supported by volunteers from the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department. The Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Bisons will also send Billy Buffalo and Buster Bison to help celebrate the giveaway.

NO RSVP Necessary! Turkeys will be distributed on a first come basis. Distribution will start promptly at 1 PM!

Eventbrite Information Link: https://bit.ly/2IILOMg

Facebook Information Link: https://bit.ly/2UB5Fzm

SO Neighborhood News: 43North Winner, SparkCharge, Takes a Dip With ABC’s Sharks

SO Neighborhood News shares good news and exciting developments from Seneca One, and the companies and individuhals who call the tower home

Seneca One resident 43North was ahead of the curve (or should we say ahead of the fin) when they awarded $1 million to their 2018 startup competition grand prize winning company, SparkCharge. On Friday, October 16th, SparkCharge’s CEO Joshua Aviv and chief technology officer Christopher Ellis appeared on the season 12 premiere of ABC’s “Shark Tank” where they had the opportunity to pitch their business plan to celebrity “sharks” Mark Cuban, Lori Grenier, Daymond John, Blake Mycoskie, and Kevin O’Leary. 

SparkCharge is an environmentally focused start-up in the high-growth electric vehicle space. They specifically are building out a smart and accessible network of portable EV charging systems in order to serve a growing population of EV owners. 

Onstage with the “sharks,” Christopher and Joshua highlighted their business model, shining light on how much they have continued to thrive and grow since securing their initial investment from 43North onstage at Shea’s in 2018. Their presentation highlighted their key product, the Roadie–a portable, modular, and fast electric vehicle charging device, as well as their B2B business model, including high profile partner AAA Roadside Assistance. While discussing the financial details of the Roadie,  Josh gave a shout-out to the company’s decision to build their own manufacturing facility right here in Buffalo, New York. 

While several of the “sharks” were wary of SparkCharge’s leasing model, the potential for future direct-to-consumer units hooked several of the investors. Mark Cuban said, “let’s charge this up,” and Chris and Josh were able to use their skills to negotiate a $1 million deal from Cuban and Lori Grenier, adding to their $5 million in grants and investments received over the years. This win for the sustainably-driven green-focused company comes on the heels of a large $3.3 million private investment that SparkCharge received in April of this year. We are excited to see how these windfalls will contribute to SparkCharge’s growth at their Buffalo facility, located at 683 Northland Ave. in the same space as the Northland Workforce Training Center and Buffalo Manufacturing Works. 

After the “Shark Tank” episode aired, 43North’s president Colleen Heidinger spoke to the Buffalo News about this exciting moment, not just for 43North, but for the Tech and Start-Up landscape of Buffalo in general. “Seeing notable investors make a commitment similar to ours, speaks to 43North’s ability to attract and invest in scalable companies with high growth potential,” she shared with the paper. 

Both Christopher and Josh spoke of their confidence in SparkCharge’s ability to grow to be a multibillion dollar company. Before leaving the show, Josh shared, “with the power of Lori and Mark, SparkCharge is now fully charged to take over the world.” We couldn’t be more excited to see how SparkCharge continues to grow, bringing more energy to Buffalo and its sustainable technology and manufacturing industries. 

Check out the clip here to see the tail end of the Shark Tank clip as Josh and Chris negotiate a deal with the sharks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wByvHFTHdGs&feature=youtu.be

10 Activities for an Awesome Lunch Break at Seneca One

There’s lots to see and do in downtown Buffalo these days, so why not take some time on your lunch break to get out and explore the neighborhoods surrounding Seneca One! Take a look at our top 10 fun ideas to try out that are just a short walk from us.

  1. Meet your daily step goal with a walk around the historic Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park.
  2. Enjoy the beautiful waterfront views and rent a kayak at Canalside.
  3. Meet up with some friends and have lunch at 716, Liberty Hound, or Pearl Street.
  4. Take a walk down Main Street and peek in the shops and restaurants. Ride the Metro back.
  5. Explore Buffalo’s public art murals, and make sure to stop at 461 and 465 Washington St.
  6. Grab take out from E-Cafe at the Glenny and have a picnic at Dart Lawn at Canalside.
  7. Celebrate your inner child at the new Explore & More Children’s Museum.
  8. You can never have too much Buffalo gear. Pick up some new Buffalo gear at the Sabres’ store or at the BFLO store.
  9. Dive into a good book at the Buffalo Central Library.
  10. Grab a Reddy Bikeshare, located in front of Sahlen’s Field at 275 Washington St, and take a bike ride along the water

This is just a snapshot of the exciting amenities nearby Seneca One. What are some of your favorite things to downtown?