A growing number of techies are calling New York City home, and investors are paying attention.
When Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai started building their location-sharing startup,Foursquare, in 2008, they chose New York City for their headquarters, and Crowley’s kitchen table in the East Village served as their first workspace. “We never even had a conversation about, ‘the only way to make it succeed is to go to California—should we pack up our stuff?’ ” he says.
Given that the pool of Web developers was so much bigger in Silicon Valley, Crowley’s decision might have seemed risky. But in the past few years, a growing number of startups have seen the Big Apple as a viable alternative to the San Francisco Bay area. This growth is fueled by a confluence of factors: the rise of several prominent startups, including Foursquare and the crowdfunding site Kickstarter; the arrival of venture-backed accelerator programs to help young startups get off the ground; a pool of engineers who have come to or stayed in the city as companies like Facebook and Twitter built offices in New York; and moves by New York City’s government to encourage tech innovation.
Today, Crowley occasionally serves as a startup mentor in the city, taking meetings with students and nascent entrepreneurs in New York the way respected tech veterans have long done in Palo Alto or San Francisco. “That stuff that’s been going on for 20 or 30 years in the Valley is just starting to happen,” he says.
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