I recently had the opportunity to attend a fascinating meetup about women in technology hosted by the tech in motion meetup group. The meeting was structured around an in-depth panel discussion touching on today’s hottest topics surrounding women in technology. Topics ranged from unequal pay to the misconception of women in leadership roles. One key piece of information that stuck with me was the rising presence of tech start-ups in New York.
For decades now we have all known the tech capital of America to be Silicon Valley. Name a prominent technology company and odds are they were built and/or are currently headquartered there. Silicon Valley is not only home to many of the world’s largest technology corporations, but also houses thousands of small start-ups as well. Silicon Valley alone accounts for one-third of all the venture capitalist investment in the entire U.S.
If hosting the biggest tech companies weren’t enough, they also house some of the most prominent universities known for producing the founders. Stanford University, University of California (Berkeley), and Carnegie Mellon University to name a few.
How does New York City compare? Well we haven’t taken the top spot ranking, but we are making major headway. During this past decade, the Big Apple has emerged as a top tech center for new companies and a hotbed for both angel and venture capital funding.
In the past year, 127 tech start-ups were founded in the city, nearly equal to the combined 131 that launched in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, according to data from SeedTable.com. Also in the past year, there were 100 deals for private tech companies in the city valued at $8.32 billion, second only to Silicon Valley, according to a recent report from PrivCo. Nearly every West Coast venture firm now has an office in New York. Not a satellite office folks, but a real one!
Some prominent start-ups, including Foursquare, Tumblr, Kickstarter, and Gilt Groupe, were established in New York in the past five years. Mayor Bloomberg has been very vocal about his quest to have NYC rival Silicon Valley as a high tech hub. He’s been seen cutting ribbons at new office openings for Twitter and has even set up a new digital department within the city government to oversee the efforts. The city’s Economic Development Corp. has established a $22.5 million start-up investment fund, supported 10 business incubators, and created contests for software that draws on city data and tech businesses that open or move downtown.
In order to continue to draw the attention as a major player in the tech world, New York needs to resolve the problem of a scarcity of nearby colleges with heavy tech emphasis. After all, Silicon Valley has quite the selection. The city’s biggest move was offering 12 acres of land and up to $100 million in improvements for a tech-focused graduate school. Cornell University and Technion-Isreal Institute of Technology won the competition to run the school, which started with a handful of students this past January. It is the first institution in the country to boast an on-campus patent officer, acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. NYC also awarded Columbia University and New York University $15 million each in incentives to create new technology programs.
So is New York City the new Silicon Valley? We aren’t quite there yet, but we are showing a series of promising signs. And as for Pixafy, we’re proud to say we’re Made in N.Y., with the entirety of our staff working out of our New York office.
Do you think New York could supplant Silicon Valley? Let us know in the comments!