The Complete List, A-Z
2007 ListFor many New York tech and media companies, 2009 was a year to forget: Declining advertising and subscription revenue, penny-pinching customers, and extra-careful investors made for an unpleasant business environment — at least the first half of the year.
But that didn’t stop people from doing important, interesting, and/or cool stuff in 2009!
So for this year’s Silicon Alley 100, we focused on highlighting individuals — 113, to be exact — who made a mark this year.
To be clear, this year’s list is not a “power and influence” list. It’s a list of people in the NYC digital community who did really cool stuff. So if you’re powerful and influential and you’re wondering why you’re not on the list, maybe you just spent the year sitting around on your powerful duff.
The list is also not ranked. When the criteria is “did important, interesting, and/or cool stuff,” any ranking would be arbitrary. So you can tell everyone you’re No. 1!
This year’s list includes people like Tim Armstrong, who quit his job at Google to take over as AOL’s CEO; Ian Lynch Smith, whose Brooklyn-based Freeverse Software became one of the top iPhone gaming companies; and Tina Brown, who is building The Daily Beast into a beast.
Click here to scroll through the Silicon Alley 100 →
Special thanks to our sponsor, 2010 International CES, for making this list possible. And thanks to our teammates Nick Saint and Bianca Male for their research and production assistance.
The former Google sales boss took over as AOL's CEO in March, and has since stocked the company with a crew of ex-Googlers. His big projects: Spinning down AOL's shrinking dialup business in an orderly fashion, -- while taking the cash it's throwing off and investing in a huge online publishing business, trying to build a 'Time Inc. for the 21st Century.'
Soraya is one of the reasons the New York Times became so Facebook-and-Twitter-savvy this year, working closesly with Jennifer Preston, Cynthia Collins, and Jake Harris. Now she's starting a new job at Drop.io, building a new public relations tool.
CEO, Founder/Chief Strategy Officer, and Founder/Chief Merchandising Officer, Gilt Groupe
Gilt Groupe, the by-invitation-only luxury e-commerce startup, continued rapid growth in 2009, including the launch of a new travel site and moving into new headquarters on Park Avenue. Gilt raised about $40 million at a $400 million valuation over the summer.
Disclosure: Gilt shares investors with The Business Insider.
Partners, Union Square Ventures
As USV's investment in Twitter continued to grow in value -- the company now has a $1 billion valuation, set by its latest financing -- the firm continued to invest in hot startups this year, such as Foursquare and Tracked.com. Fred Wilson's 'A VC' remains a must-read for anyone involved in tech startups or venture capital.
Founder, Freeverse Software
Brooklyn-based Freeverse has published several popular iPhone apps, including recent hit Skee-Ball, which 'took about two months to develop and deploy and then raked in $181,000 for Freeverse in one month,' according to a New York Times article.
Columnist, New York Times
Sorkin's book on the economic collapse, 'Too Big To Fail,' cracked the New York Times top 10 hardcover nonfiction bestsellers list, and earned Sorkin a (mostly-flattering) New York Magazine profile.
CEO, Time Warner
Jeff hated the AOL Time Warner merger from the beginning, and in 2009, took the necessary steps to reverse it, spinning AOL off as a separate company. He also made an impressive hire in new AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.
While Twitter experienced meteoric growth in 2009, its inventor Dorsey was working on a new project: Square, a payment system that lets people accept credit card payments on their iPhone or other mobile device. Square has offices in New York, San Francisco, and St. Louis.
Betaworks invested in several new companies this year, including Dailybooth, ChallengePost, Gdgt, and Hot Potato; it acquired popular Twitter service TwitterFeed; it launched real-time stats service Chartbeat; and it nurtured link-shortening service Bit.ly to 2 billion monthly clicks, as it became Twitter's default URL shortener.
Bob's MLB Advanced Media is one of the leaders in the Web TV revolution. In April, Bowman and team -- including CTO Joe Choti and SVP Joe Inzerillo -- launched an awesome new version of MLB.TV, the league's live Web TV service, including hi-def game streaming. It also pushed the limit on Apple's iPhone app platform, including live game audio and video streaming.
Jason's human-powered search engine continued to evolve in 2009 and traffic exploded to 13 million uniques in November. Closer to New York, Jason's early vision of Web publishing has become the future of AOL, as the company plans to build itself around Weblogs Inc., the blog network it bought from Jason in 2005.
Most importantly, Jason launched the original Silicon Alley 100 list, as the editor and CEO of Silicon Alley Reporter back in the 1990s. We're forever grateful!
CEO, Huffington Post
Eric took the reigns of one of the Web's most-watched publishing companies in June, and has since launched several new sections, including sports, technology, books, and a Los Angeles local edition.
Chief Content Officer, Bloomberg
Norm is leading Bloomberg's charge to be one of the most important news outlets in the world in the next decade. It recently acquired BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill, and with Andy Lack and Dan Colarusso, Norm is trying to shape Bloomberg TV into a vehicle that can steal viewers from CNBC.
Founder and Publisher, Curbed Network
While big media suffered in 2009, Curbed will finish the year with 30% revenue growth. In October, the company launched a new national edition of its Eater foodie blog, and will do the same for shopping blog Racked next year.
While the New York Times Company's news media group reported a 30% year-over-year drop in advertising revenue over the first nine months of 2009, About managed to grow -- albeit a hair.
Peter and fellow Engadget alum Ryan Block launched their new startup in July: A social network for gadget lovers. Early investors include True Ventures and Betaworks, plus angels. They also provided awesome live coverage from several big tech events this year.
Executive Producer, TechTicker;
Managing Editor, Yahoo Finance
Diane leads Yahoo's daily financial Web video show -- hosted by Aaron Task and Henry Blodget from the Nasdaq Marketsite -- which has more viewers than CNBC. The show is also produced by Peter Gorenstein and Heesun Wee.
Diane is also Managing Editor of Yahoo Finance, the largest business and finance site in the world, with 26 million monthly visitors.
Founder, Hard Candy Shell
Kevin and cofounder Dan Maccarone's work is increasingly everywhere: His user experience and product design firm has recently done work for the Wall Street Journal, paidContent, Gilt Groupe, UrbanDaddy, Gawker Media, Foursquare, National Geographic, and Bloomberg.
Principal, Bain Capital Ventures
Founders Club, which Dan helps organise, remains one of New York's most exclusive tech social events. Where else can you party with Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Jeff Zucker, and Tim Armstrong on the same Rockefeller centre rooftop?
Avner raised $6 million this year from General Catalyst, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures, as Boxee continues to develop its Web video/media centre software. (Some 700,000 users in November, up from 50,000 in January.) In December, at a packed concert hall in Brooklyn, Avner showed off the forthcoming beta version of Boxee, and announced the company's first hardware product, a partnership with D-Link. Avner hired former CollegeHumor cofounder Zach Klein to run product development in September.
CEO, COO, CTO, Blip.tv
Blip.tv's cofounders made progress in 2009 as they try to build the Web's equivalent of a TV network. The company made deals with Roku and Verizon to distribute its videos in more places, released a major update to its software platform, and increased focus on content it can sell ads for. Blip says about 80% of its views are monetizable now, up from about 40% a year ago.
Dvorkin's blog community scored big when Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi made it his home base on the Web as his profile exploded during the financial crisis. After launching in April, True/Slant attracted 800,000 readers in October and November. Contributers now number 250, up from 65 in April.
Entrepreneur-in-Residence, First Round Capital
Charlie reduced his startup Path 101 to a nights-and-weekends project in October, joining Philadelphia-based First Round Capital as an EIR in its New York office. He also organised the second annual '@Shakeshack' networking night.
Founder and CEO, Drop.io
Sam's startup, Drop.io, scored a partnership with Yahoo earlier this year to help Yahoo Mail users attach large files. Sam has also organised a few successful social events: His Brooklyn Futurist Meetup group has more than 850 members, and he's involved in Strauss Zelnick's rooftop salons.
President, Founder, Tumblr
Maloney joined Tumblr early this year as president. The company has grown to 20 million monthly uniques, 500 million monthly pageviews, and Tumblr sites attract 10,000 new subscribers a day.
Aviary is building the Web's equivalent of Adobe's Creative Suite software. In October, the company closed a $7 million investment from Spark Capital and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. (Co-founder Israel Derdik also in the illustration.)
Chief Product Officer, MySpace
Jason left Sling Media this year -- after launching a new Web video portal -- and became chief product officer at MySpace. There, he'll help Jon Miller and Owen Van Natta turn the once-hot social network into a multimedia portal. His 'Media ReDEFined' newsletter remains popular.
Founder and CEO, GoMobo
The Web food ordering service saw sales increase more than 600% in 2009, and signed deals with Applebee's, Burger King, Dunkin' doughnuts, Five Guys Burgers, Quiznos, and Subway.
Chairman and CEO, Sonik Architects
Rana joined iPhone app maker Sonik Architects late in the year, and also scored an O'Reilly book deal for Marketing iPhone Apps. Earlier this year, Rana helped build up Medialets into one of the most interesting iPhone app advertising companies.
Publisher, Editor-at-Large, TV Editor, Mediaite
Mediaite launched in July and passed 650,000 unique visitors in October, thanks to work by these three, Senior Editor Glynnis MacNicol and Managing Editor Colby Hall. They're now launching three new sites: Styleite, Geekosystem, and SportsGrid.
Meckler changed JupiterMedia's name to WebMediaBrands and cleaned up its portfolio, selling Internet.com for $18 million. On Twitter, he recently teased, 'We hope to close an acquisition late next week or early the next. And perhaps another by month end. Both exciting.'
Senior Editor, All Things Digital
Peter has broken several digital media stories this year, including Apple's intent to launch a subscription video service via iTunes. He has also embedded more YouTube and Hulu videos in news posts than any other media writer.
Ron lives on the West Coast but his checkbook has been helping keep the lights on for many New York startups; 2009 investments include Foursquare, Hunch, and Hot Potato.
Esther continued investing in startups this year, including Vizu, Palaran, ChallengePost, and Airship Ventures.
One of the most influential voices in tech, Josh took over Engadget from departing editor Ryan Block and hasn't blinked. He also scooped his peers by getting to take a Palm Pre onto the Jimmy Fallon show long before the phone was available to the public.
Investor, Pilot Group
Pittman's latest venture is a high-end, $275-a-bottle tequila company, Casa Dragones.
CEO, Sawhorse Media
Greg's DUMBO, Brooklyn-based Sawhorse Media has built Twitter tools for several media companies. He also organised the Shorty Awards, a Twitter awards ceremony, which MC Hammer attended.
Founder and Co-CEO, OLX
In 2009, OLX raised another $5 million and began powering classifieds for Hi5, the social network. Fabrice continued to invest in startups: Eight angel investments in 2009 so far, with more to come.
Founder and CEO, Outbrain
Outbrain provides a related content widget for over 25,000 sites, including USA Today, Slate, Fox, and Golf.com. It reached 12 million U.S. visitors in October, according to Compete, up from 1.3 million a year ago.
President, Hearst Interactive Media
Ken and his team have been working on Skiff, a service rival to Amazon's Kindle store, to sell digital magazines and newspapers for e-book readers and other gadgets.
Founder and CEO, AppNexus
AppNexus raised $5 million from Kodiak Venture Partners, Venrock, and First Round Capital this year. Brian hired Michael Rubenstein away from Google to help build a real-time online advertising platform.
Bits blogger, The New York Times
Nick took over as lead writer of Bits, the NYT's technology blog, late in the year. He was previously on book leave: 'I Live in the Future: & Here's How It Works' will be published by Crown Business.
Strauss has recently made great use of his Midtown office building's roof deck, holding high-profile salons attended by important media and technology execs and the people who love them.
Managing Partner, Blue State Digital
Thomas is taking his Web company's buzz coming out of the Obama election and applying it to business for clients like Hearst Publishing and Focus Features. The company also opened a new office on 20th Street in Manhattan.
The Web-based food ordering service saw sales grow 12.5% in 2009, led by huge growth in its consumer business. (Versus corporate accounts, which were hit hard by the financial sector's collapse.)
Co-founder and CEO, Peek
Peek started selling in RadioShack stores and on Amazon this year, and in November, Amol launched a Twitter-only edition of his mobile gadget. Amol also leads Founders Roundtable, a networking group.
Co-Founder and Chairman, Huffington Post
Lerer invested in Gdgt in 2009 while watching his HuffPo investment soar in value. He is also an investor in Buzzfeed, Betaworks, Hot Potato, blip.tv, and other startups.
Disclosure: Ken is an investor in The Business Insider.
Founder, Exit Strategy NYC
Jonathan's app -- available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Kindle -- is incredibly helpful for New Yorkers: It tells you which Subway car corresponds to exits in each NYC Subway station, helping save valuable time.
Founder and Managing Partner, Mesa
Patricof served as financial advisor to ScienceBlogs as they received an investment from National Geographic; to NowPublic as they were acquired by Examiner.com; and to MOG as they received an investment from Menlo Ventures.
CEO, Associated Content
Keane joined Associated Content in March after leaving CBS Interactive in late 2008. The content factory recently announced that it 'is on pace for 125% year-over-year ad revenue growth in 2009, with year-over-year traffic growth of 100% in the same time period'
Founder and CEO, Blog Talk Radio
President Obama appeared on a Blog Talk Radio show in August. The company now averages more than 5.5 million listens a month. It launched a new 'audio-Twitter' platform called Cinch in October. And corporate clients now include Pepsi, Century 21, Ford, Allstate, and the Wall Street Journal.
Executive Vice President, Hearst Corporation
George left his job as NBC's Chief Digital Officer to take a similar role at Hearst in March. He launched aggregation site LMK.com in October, and is reportedly getting ready to make several acquisitions.