Photo: Dan Frommer
Matt Mireles’ post on Friday – “Face It: NYC Is Not The Best Place For A Startup” – and Caterina Fake’s and Chris Dixon’s admirable defence of the city/region were fantastic reads. All three raise good arguments for why NYC is or is not a good (better?) place for startups. Kudos to Matt for raising some provocative points on what is an important topic for many of us.
Here are a few additional thoughts and comments:
- In 2009, NYC and the surrounding region trailed only Boston and Silicon Valley in terms of venture capital received. Of all the regions in the country, NYC is 3rd. My personal bet is that NY will beat out Boston in the next five years.
- The reality is that NYC will always be an after-thought until we can create a few Billion Dollar Companies here. The good part is that the current crop of leading local startups, such as Associated Content, Etsy, Gilt Groupe, Huffington Post, Kayak, TheLadders, Thumbplay, Tremor Media, and Yodle will hopefully achieve some great exits as either public companies or acquisitions. It is also a very promising sign that a large number of people who first earned their stripes at startups like About.com, DoubleClick, iVillage, Right Media, TACODA, 24/7 Real Media, and other companies are now launching and building their own businesses in the city today.
- Hiring specialised technical talent in NYC continues to be hard, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was a few years ago. Another (very) encouraging trend is the increasing number of great engineers who are re-locating to NYC from Silicon Valley or Boston. Also, talented grads from top schools are increasingly realising that NYC is a terrific place to work hard and play hard. Just don’t mention these winters to those from California.
- Comparing NYC to Silicon Valley and debating which region is better for startups is missing the more important question, which as Chris points out is how do we copy the elements that make the Valley so special and then adapt these things specifically to NYC? It’s also equally important to realise that there will likely be certain things that we can’t copy and therefore we’ll have to come up with our own “secret sauce or recipe” for making NYC a great place for startups and entrepreneurs.
So in summary, NYC isn’t a great place for a startup today. But the reason why so many people are excited about NYC is because we think it will be someday.
Here’s what a top angel investor and a few successful local entrepreneurs have to say about the NYC startup scene:
Warren Lee is a venture capitalist at Canaan Partners and sits on several media and advertising startup boards, including Associated Content, Motionbox, Peer39, Tremor Media, and Vivox.
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