Welcome to Silicon Alley
Tech start-ups meet funding in the Big Apple
By Ryan S. Silva, CPA, CFE, CVA
Start-up technology entrepreneurs and investors need to take a close look at New York City’s Silicon Alley, if they haven’t already.
There’s a reason the name is so similar to Silicon Valley on the opposite coast. Both are geographic centers of tech innovation, but in addition to the young brainpower in early-stage technology development, this tech hub is as much about access to the nearby capital markets.
It’s this confluence of techies, investors and elbow-rubbing proximity to such famous neighbors as Kickstarter, Spotify, Vimeo, Tumblr and Etsy that’s making exciting things happen here.
Where the money is
Silicon Alley is drawing the interest of idea-rich, cash-starved tech entrepreneurs and software engineers. Talent and capital mingle here, and it’s just a short walk, cab ride or subway trip to your next pitch meeting.
New York City employs some 100,000 tech workers at nearly 7,000 high-tech companies, according to a 2013 report from the state comptroller. An impressive number of angel investors and venture capital firms have taken notice, and their pockets are deeper than they’ve been in quite some time.
In 2013, than $3 billion in deals was finalized with venture capital money in 450 technology transactions. Partly as a result, the job growth rate in the tech sector was four times that of any other job category in the city.
A lifestyle decision
The city itself is a draw for the tech crowd. It perhaps says more about the steep real estate prices in the San Francisco Bay area than the affordability of Manhattan, but many entrepreneurs establish roots in the Alley for its cost effectiveness. They find that it can be less expensive to get started here than it would be to move across the country.
That’s due, in large part, to the exciting and creative ways that workspaces are being carved out. Buildings are being converted to serve as shared spaces, forming hives of small tech companies where likeminded entrepreneurs can work and network in common areas under soaring ceilings with views of bustling sidewalks and iconic skylines. Creative young minds are disrupting legacy businesses in health care technology, biotechnology, gaming, advertising, and software and hardware development of all kinds.
New York City’s arts, culture and reputation for get-it-done commerce are putting Silicon Alley squarely on the map. It’s now a logical landing site for young tech entrepreneurs and software engineers with big ideas — and the money people who can add much-needed fuel to those ideas.