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New York State of Tech

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Starting Up Tech in New York City


If there’s one thing most of us are aware of, it’s that most businesses will fail. It’s a flashing neon sign blinking in the dark and offering fair warning to those ambitious souls who have an idea.

Within the tech industry, success is as much driven by innovative, creative thinking as it is venture capital. Money. New York City has positioned itself as a major hub for the next wave of tech advances, laying the groundwork of opportunity for new enterprises.

There have been numerous efforts made through the years to position New York City as a major tech hub, including competitions, the establishment of Cornell Tech, a startup hub on Roosevelt Island, and an environment that has no shortage of venture capitalists actively seeking the next great idea to latch onto.

When you want to break into the tech niche or (even better) have an idea that’s going to transform an industry or even the world, you’ll gravitate toward the regions most supportive of your vision.

New York City is one of the leaders for East Coast tech startups. In fact, the Big Apple has recently become known as the Silicon Alley of the East and it’s living up to the hype.

Grounded on a Bedrock of Industries

New York City has long been known as the center of the financial world for generations. Home to Wall Street, the Federal Reserve (one of the largest active gold reserves in the world), and thousands of trading firms and banks, it also attracts other industry leaders.

Some of those include fashion, media, sports, marketing, commerce, and entertainment. With such a wealth of financial resources, the opportunities for tech innovation abounds, and the assets to help startups grow is almost endless.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that many of these key industries take advantage of the latest technological innovations and ideas as soon as they gain traction. 

For many years, starting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lead, the City has been pushing for favorable incentives to attract tech companies and startups. State and local tax breaks and other incentives were intended to bring more companies to the region, nestling these tech startups right next to power brokers from almost every major industry imaginable. 

It has, in short, created a central gathering place for innovators, tech experts, and innovative minds. These centers are often referred to as ‘hubs.’

Creating a Hub

The term ‘hub’ in the tech sphere has come to refer to a central area, a main concourse, if you will. There are tech hubs sprouting up all over the world, from Bangalore, India to Shenzhen, China to London, England and even New York, there are no shortage of locations clamoring for innovation and tech startups.

In New York, Cornell University established Cornell Tech, an educational and support campus for young entrepreneurs. It offers an opportunity for a solid education, internships, and networking that becomes essential for building a business over time.

By training the next generations of tech enthusiasts, this type of hub acts like a magnet, drawing young, eager, innovative minds to where the ‘action is.’ 

For example, when a young athlete possesses the right drive, skills, and early training and dreams of becoming a top-level pro someday, he’s going to focus on the best college garnering the greatest media spotlight and attention.

You’re not going to head to a Division III-A school no one’s heard about just to dominate because, at the end of the day, you won’t be noticed. And that’s not going to help you break into the Big Leagues.

A tech hub is a platform, the ‘A’ school, as it were, that encourage young technologically savvy and innovative entrepreneurs to focus on the best stages to conjure ideas, develop them, learn how to make them grow, and have a broad audience of business-minded people with capital ready to invest in those ideas.

Go Where the Money Is

When you have a brilliant idea, something that’s going to completely revolutionize an industry or market, you need capital. Venture capital is the primary funding source of tech startups and New York City is growing stronger every year in this regard.

While Silicon Valley remains the dominant king of tech companies and venture capital, New York is closing the gap. Quickly.

In fact, venture capital in Silicon Valley grew an impressive 20 percent over one quarter where New York enjoyed a nearly 140 percent increase during that same period. The numbers are jaw-dropping, too.

When $1.7 billion accounts for an increase in venture capital being poured into tech startups in New York City, it highlights just how significant the area is becoming.

Cornell won the competition Michael Bloomberg set forth to build this new tech hub, which was worth $100 million (PC Mag). On top of all that, tax incentives to these startup tech firms are paying dividends, too, attracting large and small firms to the region.

While there have been a few stumbling blocks along the way (think Amazon’s HQ2 debacle), overall more companies are embracing entrepreneurs and tech startups to the City, which means competition is also intensifying.

What Competition Means for the Future

Increased competition can cause incredible frustration for some of the best in any industry, but it also drives talent and the pursuit of new ideas. Look no further than the sports industry to see this play out.

In the world of tennis, some of the greatest players never stand alone. They may dominate for a few years, but soon a rival emerges and pushes them to be better than ever. It was true with McEnroe and Connors, Evert and Navratilova, Sampras and Agassi, the Williams sisters, and Federer and Nadal.

When the competition is more intense, there’s a greater demand for better ideas, sharper focus, and to work harder, longer, and smarter than your competition. For tech startups, this means honing ideas and sharpening them to attract much-needed venture capital.

Also, in the case of emerging tech startup firms and hubs throughout the world, only the very best, brightest, and most determined actively want to be surrounded by others who are just as capable.

Steve Jobs rose to prominence with Apple in the wake of Bill Gates. The two innovators propelled one another to dig deeper into their respective well of ideas and reserves and resources and the world was changed forever.

New York City has certainly become a power player in the world of tech startups and while tomorrow’s innovations are yet to be revealed or even thought up, if you want to be involved and in a place where your tech ideas will flourish, New York City is one of the top.

New York State of Tech TIDAL playlist

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