For decades, California’s Silicon Valley has been the world’s powerhouse for high-tech research, innovation and development. From Intel’s silicon microprocessor to Netflix’s movie-streaming platform, the region’s startup ecosystem has contributed immensely to the integration of new technologies into daily life. In recent years, however, New York City has captured its fair share of high-tech markets, leading to a new, slightly ironic nickname for the city that never sleeps-- “Silicon Alley”. Last year alone, venture capital investments in the city’s startup scene totaled more than $7.3 billion USD, roughly $4.7 billion more than in 2013.
Granted, Silicon Alley is still only 28% the size of its Californian counterpart, but the city’s reputation as a hub for creativity, social activism, and sustainability has encouraged significant growth in a wide breadth of industries. Compared to the previous year, 2015 saw the number of unicorns--startups valued at $1 billion-- increase by 75%, including household names like Warby Parker and Buzzfeed. Eric Hippeau of Soho-based Lerer-Hippeau Ventures said the city’s startup scene is “the best it’s ever been.” Within the next decade, Silicon Alley is on track to generate even more wealth for all those involved.
There are several reasons why New York City has seen such an spike in entrepreneurial activity in recent years. Well-established tech giants like Facebook and Google now have highly active offices in the city, so designers, entrepreneurs, and programmers have a greater incentive to stay on the East Coast. Former employees from these companies and other industry leaders have since developed their own market-disrupting ventures with the technical, professional, and interpersonal savvy to excel in an increasingly more competitive market.
Notable, too, is the vast array of active investors in the city. Nearly 400 VCs have offices or headquarters in NYC, so however differentiated a startup may be, odds are there is an investor in the city that is looking for what it has to offer. With offices in NYC as well as on the West Coast, Quake Capital is industry agnostic, meaning that we are willing to consider any innovative idea with a strong product-market fit and a high-quality team. The second session of the University Investor Series, for example, saw participation from startups in a wide variety of fields such as agricultural technology, fintech, and consumer goods. Armed with a compelling idea and a powerful pitch, startups seeking early-stage funding should turn not only to Quake, but to New York City as a whole as a place to grow and expand their businesses.
The third pitchfest of the UIS is on December 14. Interested in participating as an investor or startup? Apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/LZckVslzMYtvn2cE2