I have followed the Internet now for 10 years – first as an analyst, then as an investor and now as a merchant banker / seed investor. I have always been excited about the Internet greenfield opportunity and the disruption that would take place – the opportunity seemed endless, and it still does…
HOWEVER, I’ve neve been more bullish about the NY Tech scene than I am right now. There are major forces at work that I think make NY the place to be for tech innovation over the next several years. NY is the place and now is the time – here are my top 5 reasons that Im so bullish on NY:
1) Mayor Bloomberg – An entreprenuer himself, he is blazing the future tech scene with innovative programs that will help nurture / cultivate the NY tech scene. We are all well aware of the new campus NYC / Cornell will build, which will drive significant engineering talent to the city. But beyond that, his administration is driving other programs like NYC Tech Connect and NYC Media Labs to help foster the relationships between entrepreneurs, established companies, academia, and investors. This is a powerful combination.
2) Brain Influx – I have many smart friends that chose the buldge bracket investment banking career path. They would promise to work unGodly hours, in return for untold riches. But we’ve all seen whats happened to the banks, and their stock prices reflect the changes. The bankers that thought they made $X, and got paid 75% of it in stock, are now seeing their overall pay cut in half or worse as the investment bank’s stock suffer. This is causing a “career re-assessment”, and this talented group of people are now turning to new challenges like startups, where the risk / reward is more in their control.
3) Madison Avenue – There’s no denying that NY is the the center of the media world and with much of the monezation on the Internet being done via advertising, there’s no better place to be. Even if you’re a Silicon Valley company, you MUST have sales in NY to consistently reach out to the media mecca.
4) #2 VC Funding – NY just passed Boston to be the #2 source of VC tech funding, second only to Silicon Valley. The money is coming to where the talent / ideas are. Further, NY based investors like Fred Wilson, John Frankel and others are becoming celebrities unto themselves, as passed investments prove profitable. So not only is the talent assembling in NY, but so is the funding – that’s a great mix.
5) Facebook & Accelerators – Facebook is finally coming to NY – and I dont mean just a sales office!.. The talent they will help bring to the city will have resounding impacts – it is likely that these smart engineers will leave FB after its successful IPO and help build new startups in NYC – this can start a virtuous cycle. Add to this, the incubators / accelerators, like ERA and TechStars. These groups help bring awareness to the tech scene, while nurturing the best talent NYC has to offer.
I could list more reasons and go into further detail – but I think you quickly get my point: we’re seeing an unprecendented tech boom in NYC. Smarter observers will get involoved early…and hopefully prosper along with NYC….I’m excited to be a small part of one of the most exciting times the city has ever seen.
Robert Peck, CFA
President, CoRise Co.