Kevin Ryan reclines in a designer chair in his Park Avenue office, wearing a Luciano Barbera suit and a vintage Rolex watch. A picture of Ryan with President Barack Obama is on the wall and an ornate Oscar de la Renta gown hangs from the door.
This is not a man who would blend in among the sneaker-clad startup ranks of Silicon Valley. Yet Ryan, chief executive of the Gilt Groupe and a founder of several prominent Internet companies, is one of the technology world’s most influential people, with a career trajectory that mirrors the rise of New York’s tech scene.
Ryan and Dwight Merriman run a startup factory called AlleyCorp, after Silicon Alley, a nickname given to New York’s answer to Silicon Valley. It has churned out companies that have almost nothing in common, from e-commerce to publishing to database software.
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