In what may seem like a blink of an iPad, New York has emerged over the last few years as the number two leading technology hub in America, behind, of course, Silicon Valley. No small accomplishment, considering that five years ago New York was a mere afterthought among tech entrepreneurs and VCs and a distant third after Boston. But in every major indicator of entrepreneurial activity – startup formation, capital raising, job creation, supporting infrastructure – New York has become a technology force, a place where tech entrepreneurs want to be and VCs look to invest. According to a report published by the Center for an Urban Future, since 2006 over 1,000 tech startups have been organized in New York. Approximately half of those have received VC or angel funding; 80 have raised at least $10 million. Of the six leading technology regions in the United States, only New York enjoyed an increase in the number of VC deals since 2007, according to the report’s analysis of data contained in the MoneyTree report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.
These numbers are impressive, but the intense demand for admission into New York accelerator programs suggests the data may actually understate the phenomenon. TechStars received 1,600 applications for its March 2012 accelerator program, according to TechStars’ Managing Director David Tisch. Before 2009, there were no accelerator programs in New York. In terms of job creation, the Center for an Urban Future’s review of New York State Department of Labor data shows that the number of information technology jobs in the City increased from 33,000 in 2003 to 52,900 in 2012—an impressive 60% increase. And the enthusiasm for New York is not limited to small tech startups, but is shared as well by some of the largest and fastest growing non-New York based technology companies which have established a significant presence here, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo.
Bolstering the transformation of New York City into a technology powerhouse will be the development of the Cornell-Technion engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, which is projected to produce 600 spinouts over the next three decades. Cornell’s choice to partner with Israel’s Technion is no accident, given the Technion’s history of commercialization of discoveries through technology startups.
New York has always been known as an entrepreneurial city, but it had fallen behind several others in terms of innovation and technology. Until now. With the recent wave of tech start-ups, innovation has again become hip in New York.