FORTUNE -- Unlike those tech workers over in Silicon Valley who live in a Google-bussing, Glass-wearing, Playa-sharing comfort bubble of soft landings and superhero universities, New York startups are toughing it out in the real world. Or so the trope has gone.
New York, a distant No. 2 to Silicon Valley, has "grit and grime"; it's "real and raw," according to a PandoDaily piece by Josh Miller, founder of Branch (a link-sharing service that Facebook acquired in January). Taking things a step further, Miller noted that being a startup founder in San Francisco "feels like being a banker in New York." In other words, in the Valley it's easier to work in tech -- there, you're the top dog.
Miller's not the only one with this view. New York techies love to tout the fact that New York isn't an "industry town" as a major reason for building a company here. Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, has said he likes the fact that he's not surrounded by other techies in New York. And on Quora, a question-and-answer website, techies gush over such things as the ability to target products at people who "do not live/eat/breathe tech."
But the image of tech workers as the outcasts and underdogs of New York's hierarchy is starting to shift. Deals for companies such as Tumblr, Buddy Media, Makerbot, and Shutterstock are turning employees into millionaires, and early investors into stars. Hot commerce startups such as Warby Parker and Birchbox are enviable places to work. Well-funded media startups such as Refinery29, Vox Media, Complex Media, and BuzzFeed are snapping up all the writing talent that big media cut loose during the recession. And quintessential Brooklyn companies such as Kickstarter and Etsy have blended startup culture with indie culture in a way that no Valley company can replicate. Spotify is planning to IPO. Yahoo is even buying up all our failures.
In short, tech is no longer the underdog in New York. It's quickly becoming the top dog, and the numbers back that up. A new study released this week by Citi, Google, and the NY Tech Meetup Association for a Better New York shows the city's high-tech ecosystem is made up of 291,000 jobs that are enabled by, produce, or facilitate technology, and generate $50 billion in total annual compensation. Tech accounts for 7% of New York's workforce, placing it just behind retail, which comprises 8% of the workforce. The study also shows New York's tech sector added 45,000 jobs over the last decade, growing by 18%.
New York tech is spreading its wings. Maybe we don't even need a cheerleader mayor any more. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has said the city needs "a deliberate shift in policy" from Bloomberg's very active tech-sector development projects. Here's Alicia Glen, the Mayor's deputy for housing and economic development, via the Daily News:
Our focus is on really nurturing and growing our own workforce," she said. "That wasn't the focus of the prior administration. It doesn't mean they were bad people ... it just means we want to really be able to make our connection between our overall growth and prosperity and making sure regular new Yorkers have a chance to participate in that.
As New York's tech ecosystem comes into its own, many important question marks remain. For one, Tumblr's sale wasn't necessarily a big success for the ecosystem. And the jury is still out on Foursquare, New York tech's poster child. The long-promised Gilt IPO is still just that. And other big tech leaders are grappling with valuation questions. Fab, for example, hit a major stumbling block last year.
New York has a long way to go to before it matches the Valley's dominance of tech innovation. But the numbers show that, unlike prior go-arounds, the city's tech ecosystem might be strong enough to sustain a few blows. In the aftermath of the dotcom bubble, most techies retreated to the advertising, fashion, and finance industries. Now growth looks sustainable and permanent. And that whole "underdog" thing is starting to sound dated.
The media wanted a Yahoo-Foursquare deal more than the companies did.
FORTUNE -- Over the weekend, Yahoo (YHOO) announced a data partnership with restaurant reviews site Yelp (YELP). The partnership "will incorporate Yelp's listings and reviews of local businesses into results on Yahoo's search engine," according to the Wall Street Journal.
The surprising part of this announcement is not that Yahoo partnered with Yelp; it's who Yahoo did not partner with: Foursquare. Speculation about a Foursquare MOREErin Griffith - Feb 10, 2014 5:38 PM ET
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Foursquare aims at a moving target as it tries to close another round of funding [TECHCRUNCH]
One part of the problem appears to be that check-ins, the cornerstone of Foursquare's early growth and its traditionally main source of data points, are no longer what they used to be. A year ago CEO Dennis Crowley said Foursquare was noticing more people MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 18, 2013 3:00 AM ET
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Foursquare looks into a fourth round at an over $700 million valuation [TECHCRUNCH]
Perhaps investors are having a hard time drumming up enthusiasm because the company is valued at just under half the market cap of its public competitor Yelp, which boasts 84 million unique monthly visitors and 33 million reviews. The company has 25 million registered MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 6, 2012 5:30 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of tech stories from the weekend. Sign up to get the round-up delivered to you each and every day.
* In a first for Apple (AAPL), the Cupertino-based tech giant published the results of a study reporting that it had "created or supported" 514,000 American jobs. Abroad, Apple says it has created almost 700,000 jobs. (Apple via The New York Times)
* Shares of Yelp, the local business reviews site, climbed 64% Friday MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 5, 2012 3:30 AM ET
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* In recent months, Google has come under attack for lashing out at Apple, Microsoft, and RIM, which in turn led those companies -- not to mention Silicon Valley insiders -- to criticize the Internet giant right back. Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan penned an excellent point-by-point rebuttal to MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 8, 2011 6:30 AM ET
The founder of Dodgeball and Foursquare talks about funding, falling out with Google, and whether he'd partner up with Facebook or Yahoo.
Foursquare is Dennis Crowley's second go-around at a location-driven social networking service, and this time he's determined to make sure he gets to see it through.
Crowley sold his first company, Dodgeball, to Google (GOOG) but then had the frustrating experience of still having all these things he wanted to MOREBeth Kowitt, Writer - Dec 7, 2010 2:32 PM ET
First Yelp, now Groupon: Why hot startups -- especially those holding the key to "local" -- keep slipping through the search giant's fingers.
While the official confirmations have yet to land (and my colleague Dan Primack is following up on Groupon CEO Andrew Mason's hopefully tongue-in-cheek offer to discuss the finer points of his affection for miniature dollhouses), it's looking like talks between Google and Groupon have fallen apart. The situation MOREPaul Smalera - Dec 4, 2010 2:09 PM ET
Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We've assembled the day's most newsworthy bits below.Less than an hour after TV media like Anderson Cooper and Dr. Phil accused Amazon of "peddling pedophilia" for recognizing and selling a pedophile "how-to" guide on Amazon's Bestsellers list, the ecommerce site pulled it from its MORE JP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 11, 2010 6:00 AM ET
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