December 9, 2016
Over the last five years, New York has seen tremendous growth in its tech ecosystem, resulting in a boom of startups in practically every industry from ecommerce to health. As a tech community and the epicenter of finance, New York has evolved into an oasis for entrepreneurs looking for tech, capital, and connections all in one place.
Following the recession in 2008, ambitious New Yorkers took their expertise in a new direction, growing the NYC tech sector from the ground up with a DIY attitude specifically geared to help New York’s economy. With its uniquely crowded real estate sector and vast social opportunities, the coworking culture was born in New York, with over 200 coworking companies popping up in NYC over the last few years across every borough.
What goes on behind the top tech companies and startups in New York, however, is a different story altogether. New York was named the Best Smart City of 2016 at the Global Smart City Awards and has quickly become another haven for startups looking to grow their ideas into fully realized, viable products.
Tech Pride in the Financial Capital
Everyone is on board with how great New York is for burgeoning startups and established companies alike.
“New York tech moves as fast as the city, with new rounds of fundraising, acquisitions, and startups forming daily,” said Yuval Ariav, a notable venture capitalist in the city.
Everyone is familiar with Silicon Valley, but the lesser known Silicon Alley is an equally valid startup community and is quickly making a name for itself in the tech world.
“New York has a long history of ruling the financial world, and that know-how has leaked into its tech sector,” said Ariav. “In 3 out of 4 quarters in 2015, New York’s Silicon Alley claimed the highest percentage of funding applications in the country.”
While in most US cities, tech sectors receive about 13-16% growth, NYC has experienced nearly 60% growth, outpacing the world as a new technological hub.
Following whichever avenue to make the most revenue is a NY ideal as posited by NYC-based entrepreneur and tech journalist Tristan Louis stated:
“New York tech companies are looking to generate high returns… by establishing businesses with stable and easily understandable path[s] to revenue,” said Tristan Louis, New York-based entrepreneur and tech journalist.
In NYC, money talks and having a great idea and ambitions for expansion is great as long as it also makes more money.
Life is Bursting at The Seams
New York startups are known for targeting markets that were formerly nonexistent or just on the brink of exploding. For example, Blue Apron took the subscription model of streaming services and combined it with fresh foods for easy cooking, all of which greatly appealed to the millennial working class who would prefer eating out more so than cooking and dining in. Blue Apron essentially created its own audience by appealing to a niche that did not previously exist.
Because New York startups are surrounded by various industry bigwigs and peers, creating the newest “it thing” in tech that will revolutionize life isn’t necessarily a New York startup’s top priority. With the constant competition and array of other industries surrounding them, New York startups often focus more on social impact and how their respective companies will work in conjunction with others to improve everyone’s future. Startups are seeking to determine how to make the best future with what already surrounds us.
Another great example of this is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Digital.NYC platform, a centralized online hub tying together the entirety of New York tech ecosystem, providing visitors with the information and resources that can help turn ideas into businesses. The city’s digital ecosystem supports more than 300,000 tech jobs and an additional 250,000 supporting jobs. The hub has since served as a model for Boston with Starthub, and across the pond with Tech.London.
This social aspect doesn’t stop at the types of startups that excel in the city either. With a vibrant nightlife in the city that never sleeps, there is always something to do, which has led to the popular motto “Work hard, play hard.” No one said that work couldn’t be fun, and New Yorkers know how to bring the party to the office, or coworking space, and get those creative juices flowing. Many coworking spaces even have a free beer on tap, whenever you need a break from all the entrepreneurial tasks.
At its core, the New York startup culture is an amalgamation of the city’s ideals and values (e.g., hard work, efficiency, goal-oriented) with the DIY nature of startups. The people who support startups at the ground level have great ideas and ambitions; but what they also have is the drive to succeed and an unbending fortitude to turn their ideas into a successful products and services.
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