For the Good of the NYC Venture Scene I’d like to see……some chunky IPOs of NYC born-and-bred companies. Everyday Health, Gilt Group, TheLadders and others in or approaching the $100 million revenue club. NYC has spawned some great companies; it is time for the world to see them on stage and get to participate in their future growth.
…Foursquare to sell out (to Yahoo, Google, I don’t care) for $100 million-plus. What a huge success story to put in the bank for the NYC venture ecosystem when exits of this magnitude are few and far between.
…some successful NYC-based serial entrepreneurs with $5 million of spare change to get super active in the angel investor ecosystem. Smart angels finance smart ideas, create jobs and lay the foundation for subsequent funding rounds. Silicon Valley/SF has probably 20x the number of “scale” super-angels as NYC. More of these people will help turbocharge the creation of a vibrant, self-sustaining NYC venture community.
…the NYC area schools to get serious about entrepreneurship. Foster a culture of entrepreneurship within the Engineering and Computer Science programs. Get professors out into the real world, not of research but of commerce and creativity. Turn professors into feeders of great talent into NYC-based start-ups. Look at Stanford. They do it right. A little benchmarking and emulation wouldn’t hurt.
…more early-stage funds started in NYC. You can count the number of early-stage firms in this town practically on two hands. Not enough capital, not enough mentoring, not enough cross-fertilization. The early-stage ecosystem is developing with firms working together more and more, but we are in the first inning of a nine inning game. Greater collaboration. Greater communication. More capital required.
…tax policy support, not restrict, investment in early-stage businesses. Also, policies and programs need to be better communicated in order that start-ups can avail themselves of the benefits. Navigating NYC is neither easy nor cheap, and it is an impediment to starting a company here. Given its natural resources, e.g., home to seven of the largest industries on the planet, NYC should be a magnet for start-ups. Smart policy changes can help.
…a more vibrant hacker culture, where a few people, an Amazon account and some pizza and beer money can get a prototype built in a matter of weeks. It still feels like this town has a fear of failure. We need to embrace failing the right way as a badge of honour and praise pivoting into something more relevant and powerful as a natural part of the entrepreneur’s evolution.
…general adoption of clean, non-participating preferred term sheets with commercially reasonable protective provisions. The West Coast has had this right for quite some time, and NYC is getting there. But we need to fully get there in order to attract the smartest entrepreneurs and the best deals.
…less chest bumping and rhetoric and more results. There is a lot to be proud of, but until we see a spate of successful scale exits lingering doubts will remain. Put up or shut up. NYC will indeed put up; of that I am highly confident. But in the meantime, let’s just do good work, stay humble and kick arse.
(This guest post previously appeared at the author’s blog)
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