One reason to think that the surge in startup activity in New York City over the past few years isn’t just a bubble is that the rise in startup and VC activity has been accompanied by the creation of a robust support network for entrepreneurs.Startups have a level of access to talent, fellow entrepreneurs, VCs, and angels that is old hat in the Valley, but that wasn’t possible in New York during the dotcom bubble.
One recent example: the First Growth Venture Network. Founded by angel investor and venture capital professor Ed Zimmerman, First Growth is a mentoring program for early-stage startups. Accepted entrepreneurs attend a series of talks and roundtables, are paired with mentors from more established startups, and are introduced to advisors and investors from all over the country.
That last point is a major selling point, Ed tells us. Several investors from Boston and Silicon Valley regularly attend First Growth’s sessions, giving the participants valuable access to out-of-town VC firms.
First Growth recently graduated its first class of companies. Of the 15 startups accepted into the program, 9 had already received funding, and one had been acquired. That is a pretty stunning hit rate for mostly seed or pre-seed companies. Graduates include ChallengePost (which has landed the U.S. Federal Government as a customer), Producteev, and GoodCrush. Josh Weinstein of GoodCrush told us the program had “a uniquely positive impact” on his company.
First Growth is currently reviewing applications for its second class. You can apply here.