Still the One

This month POSSIBLE New York will vacate its fortress on East 11th street for a new and improved space nearer the Northeast corner of Union Square.

POSSIBLE isn’t the only agency staking its claim near 14th and Broadway. NYC real estate professionals have been sprinting to keep pace with the demand for open-seating office space in the Union Square and Flat Iron districts (Forbes, NYC Startups, 12/29/2012).

And this demand has demonstrably been fueled by NYC’S growing digital market: as of today there are 191 digital companies who call these 9 acres home, the highest concentration on the island.

Discussion about how NYC is rivaling Silicon Valley as the premier place to be for technology start-ups and digital agencies is hardly new on the cocktail party circuit. In 2010, the city’s tech fund invested its first $300,000 in seed money with My City Way, a start-up that developed a mobile application that helps people locate public restrooms, restaurants and other things to do in NYC. In 2011, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his desire to make New York the premier digital city by expanding the city’s online presence. The Mayor’s plan of action is well documented in this 60-page “Digital Road Map.

Industry experts and financial gurus alike are anticipating that 2013 will be the year of the Tech Startup for New York. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The days of Gordon Gekko are quickly fading, and as the financial industry steadily declines, NYC needs to find replacement revenue to keep the local economy afloat. Technology start-ups are a perfect solution. “Bright quantitatively-minded people who might have pursued finance for its stability and lucre now see that sector as unstable and not necessarily lucrative; its advantage over the technology sector in those respects has disappeared,” explained Jon Brunner, a data journalist for O’Reilly in an article from late 2012.
  • Private equity firms continue to invest in New York-based start-ups, with venture capital deals rising 32% since 2007, while figures in areas like Silicon Valley have dropped. 
  • New York is home to many of the nation’s largest media companies. “Much of this change has to do with the way that the technology industry has shifted toward creating consumer products and applications, rather than building the basic framework of computing and the Internet. Many new start-ups benefit from proximity to the media, advertising and fashion industries, New York’s strengths,” reported Joshua Brustein for the NY Times.

And, let’s face it…New York is cool and it’s a place that young, talented people want to live. Sure, there’s terrible subway service, absurdly expensive rents, and you can’t buy a super-sized soda (tear), but at the end of the day I think we can all agree that it’s a vibrant, inspiring place to live. This city was built on innovation, on small men with big ideas, on struggle and success, and we’re sticking around to see what happens.

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