While reading a recent article in The Atlantic, New York is said to have transitioned from a place that had virtually no high-tech startups to one that hosts a sector attracting more than $3 billion per year!
So, when and why exactly, did the startup world decide to book their flights from Silicon Valley to New York? There is a quote that goes, “something’s always happening here. If you’re bored in New York, it’s your own fault.” As I learned first handedly on my trip; the implication of The Big Apple being a lively, innovative, and extraordinarily unique city of its kind has been around for far longer than its recent explosive growth of startup sectors. With other huge and competitive cities with foundations for startups like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and Miami; it’s not too surprising that NYC landed the 6th spot for Forbes’ Top 25 Hottest Cities for Startups. With venture capital funding for tech companies exploding by 240 percent over a 10 year period and the city of dreams becoming the new hot hub for startups--it’s clear why Dashmote’s growth market includes and focuses on New York. From connecting and networking with people of various backgrounds, to closing our first deals--it’s truly difficult to say that this city hasn’t captured my heart on a business and personal level. There are three specific elements I’ve noticed, that make NYC stand out as a startup hub and entrepreneurial haven.
The Velocity & The Speed
New York’s notoriously fast paced, “city that never sleeps” lifestyle is synonymous with the the fast thinking and movement required when first building a startup. Even when coming from a busy and constantly moving city like Amsterdam--I found it much easier to meet people and schedule meetings in NYC. I was able to schedule 50 meetings in one week while in New York, while the same number would typically require two weeks in Europe or Asia! People were also much more inclined to not just hear, but actually listen to your story, your ideas, and offer their own advice or input. Noticeably, this mentality of mentoring was much more prevalent in NYC, than in regards to the European startup sphere. However, this also means that your competitor may have the same advantage. By perfectly suiting the startup criteria of “fall fast and move fast”, The Big Apple has transitioned from epicenter of financial disaster to the focal point and home of various startup successes such as Foursquare, Etsy, and Tumblr.
Corporate Startup Engagement
Along with my own experience with Dashmote, corporate startup engagement is undeniably critical. This is relevant for most startups with the intention of scaling. Since people are more receptive and open to listening to your story and ideas, the question of how easily you can sell your product to a client becomes more defined. When talking A.I. or other technology, explaining your business as the “Uber for X, or Skyscanner for Y”; people are able to comprehend and relate to your product relatively quicker in NYC--which also allows them to shoot it down faster, as well.
Big corporations see many startups as an opportunity to partner, find new innovative ideas, invest or even listen to potentially successful and/or experienced entrepreneurs. As David Kidder, CEO of Bionic, says: it’s either disrupt or be disrupted. This is in regards to corporations needing organic growth--therefore they engage with the startups more in order to potentially make their companies profit on more innovative and creative products. The significance of the engagement being more prevalent, is that both, large corporations and startups would benefit from the friendship. They each bring two distinct and integral skills needed to the business sector. Startups are excellent at producing and detecting the latest and most innovative products, sparking the innovation. While larger companies lack that innovation--yet, are successful at scaling proof of concepts. This engagement and teamwork from both ends deliver a much higher success rate--thus, startups wanting to be based in an environment with these advantages.
The Dharma & The Energy
“San Francisco is a boring fucking city. In New York, you don’t have to entertain people because the city entertains people," eloquently put by Mario Schlosser, CEO of Oscar--a healthcare startup in SoHo valued at nearly $3 billion. It’s truly difficult to compare any other city to New York. With our own Dashmote office located near the very center of one the most architecturally beautiful and romanticized cities in Europe--it’s still impossible to compare the level of glamour to that of NYC. It was, in fact, the gateway to the United States, and its popular cultural hub remains part of the “American dream”. The energy within the city vibrates with lights, traffic, millions of people, ambition, movement, culture, innovation, and drive. People are excited about what they do, they aren’t shy about loving their city, and don’t remain quiet about their ambition. With the buzzing enthusiasm, you immediately feel an inclination to be just as passionate and extroverted as them. As the famous saying goes: “surround yourself with people who have dreams, desire, and ambition; they’ll help you push for, and realize your own.” The dharma in The Big Apple uplifts you to have a greater purpose in life, encourages you to announce it and take pride in your idea, and allows people to call you on it--this innovative culture and drive only contribute greater to this buzzing city’s startup centered success.
In regards to New York City: “No one lives here because they live here: Everyone lives here because they want to be here.”