New York’s mayor has made no secret of his quest to have the Big Apple rival Silicon Valley as a high-tech hub.
The city isn’t there, at least not yet, but it can point to a series of promising signs. Tech titans including Google and Facebook have ramped up their presences in New York in recent years. Some big-name newcomers are headquartered here. Plans for an elite technology graduate school, attracted with city money, are getting enough attention that a federal patent officer is being stationed on campus in a first-of-its-kind arrangement.
Entrepreneurs say New York also faces particular challenges, including spotty broadband access in some areas and a limited tech talent base, though the city is trying to address the concerns.
“Over the last few years, what we’ve seen over and over again is a commitment to make New York City a viable alternative to Silicon Valley and a place where true innovation occurs,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said after a closed-door discussion that Mayor Michael Bloomberg convened with tech-sector leaders this month.
Bloomberg threw down the cross-country gantlet in July 2011, when he predicted the city could surpass Silicon Valley as a tech startup capital, though he noted that could take decades.