Tech Moving East
The New York tech scene is booming. The signs are everywhere. The NY Tech Meetup now has more than 19,000 members. The group meets in an 850-seat theater each month so that the hottest New York startups can introduce their products. The gatherings are so popular that you have to sign up right away just to get in. Then there's General Assembly, a campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship near Union Square. General Assembly, which already has a long waiting list for the office space it offers startups, helps entrepreneurs develop their businesses through educational programs and community collaboration. Meanwhile, We Are NY Tech, a website devoted to profiling a new member of the New York tech community every day, is becoming a must-read for entrepreneurs and investors alike.
The reason for all this excitement around the New York tech scene is clear enough. Exciting startups seem to be popping up in New York every day, from FindTheBest, an unbiased data-driven comparison engine that helps consumers make quick and informed decisions, to OnSwipe, a tool that lets publishers create app-like experiences on phones and tablets without having to make actual apps, to SkillShare, a community marketplace that allows anyone to offer classes on the things they know best.
So how did the New York tech scene gain so much momentum? Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger calls Google’s enormous headquarters on 8th Avenue “the gift that Google gave New York." And for good reason. While Silicon Alley had been gaining steam for some time, Google's significant expansion in New York City over the last five years brought a critical mass of tech talent to the city — Google now has more than a 1,000 engineers in New York.
But if Google was key to building the momentum, the final evidence that New York City had arrived as a veritable tech hub came in December of 2011. That's when Facebook announced it would be opening an engineering office in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself a world-class entrepreneur, summed up the importance of the news on Twitter: "Facebook tapping into NYC’s talent proves we’re on our way to becoming tech capital of the world."Continued on the next page