It has only been a year and a half since I first moved to NYC, and since that time the scene itself lured me away from school, into hackathons, a startup job and now finally here at The Next Web. This all happened organically, where I changed from being a designer and musician into a full-blown geek, only because of how infectious the tech scene truly is here in New York.
Of course, the city drags you in and tries to spit you out, just as it does with startups fighting for funding, talent and space, but if you manage to survive the struggle is worth it. That’s the spirit here in NY — it’s equal parts love and aggression, where the traditionally rowdy city attitude merges with night-owl programmers, investors and scrappy entrepreneurs.
The spaces, places and meetups
The “Silicon Alley” nickname given to NYC once just represented Broadway, where a handful of impressive startups and incubators could be found from south Midtown and Flatiron all the way to the bottom of Soho, just before Chinatown. Now, NY’s tech scene reaches far beyond a single street or alley, with booming communities building up in Brooklyn, and plenty more spread out across Manhattan.
Back in August of last year, our own Courtney Boyd Myers covered The 5 Coolest Coworking Spaces in New York City, which featured the likes of General Assembly, a coworking and education powerhouse located just around the corner from a number of notable investors at 902 Broadway in the Flatiron District. Then there’s WeWork Labs, which has since undergone a massive expansion in NY andopened up offices in San Francisco.
Those two companies aren’t nearly alone, either. There’s New Work City, which Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson calls the “grandaddy” of NYC coworking spaces as it has been running for the past 4 years, the relaxed Dogpatch Labs, which has offices in Cambridge and San Francisco as well, Projective Space (formally known as SohoHaven), Hive at 55, Tech Space, Greendesk, Greenspaces, Coworking Brooklyn and WeCreateNYC. Then there’s a decently large list of accelerators and incubators, including ER Accelerator, the famed TechStars NY, which is about to graduate its latest class of startups, Betaworks, Dreamit Ventures and Founder Labs – just to name just a few.
So what’s changed in all these places since last year? Every single one of them is way harder to get into. Not only is space tight, but the competition is grueling, which means only the best survive. All in all, this represents much of what’s happening in New York. Of course, in a high-risk startup environment there will be flops, but there have also been enough success stories to start a mildly large encyclopedia about them. Best of all, the scene here is still growing.
The growth of the NYC tech community has been well documented, that said, there are some major pieces that continue to go overlooked. The non-tech community in NYC and the surrounding communities are not over-saturated with beta testing, and represent such a variety of demographics, each subway stop is the home to a different community, that testing your product here is a unique advantage for many startups.
The density and variety of businesses are also a tremendous asset the city has to offer. And the general and genuine support of the startup community for each other here I think stands out. We are all in this together. I said previously, but I believe there will be some very big exits this year in NYC, which will help advance the ecosystem even further.
Thanks for the mention of us and our peer coworking spaces, TNW! Click here for the full story.