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.
Japan is about to augment its busiest train route with a super-fast maglev service and is looking sell its tech know-how abroad. A group of investors in the U.S. is interested, but it'll take a lot more than just curiosity (namely, cash, and a whole bunch of it) to get this project going.Feb 6, 2014 11:33 AM ET
A Q&A with Cyrus Massoumi, the founder of the fastest growing medical appointment booking service in America
By Ryan Bradley, senior editor
FORTUNE -- Six years after his burst eardrum and subsequent scramble to see a doctor led him to start ZocDoc, the medical appointment booking service, Cyrus Massoumi's company is growing like mad -- 2.5 million patients use the service each month, which services population centers that account for MOREOct 1, 2013 3:48 PM ET
The stock opened sharply lower, but then climbed steadily back
Traders on the Frankfurt exchange reacted swiftly Thursday to the news that Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs had submitted his resignation the day before, effectively immediately.
The stock opened 17.6 euros (6.78%) lower -- a even stronger reaction than was registered in after-hours trading on NASDAQ.
But cooler heads prevailed. By 7:45 a.m. EDT -- an hour and 45 minutes before markets were set MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 25, 2011 7:57 AM ET
Prices are zooming in the Bay Area as startups hire and new techies flock to town.
FORTUNE -- Whether we're living through another tech bubble remains hotly contested, but there's no denying its impact on one market: rental apartments in San Francisco. With Twitter, Zynga, and numerous other local startups hiring in droves, all those newbies need somewhere to live.
In the trendy SoMa and South Beach neighborhoods, says Paul MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 27, 2011 5:00 AM ET
By Sunday, Gene Munster's team couldn't find an Apple tablet for sale at any retail outlet
Gene Munster's team at Piper Jaffray walked the iPad 2 lines in New York City and Minneapolis and interviewed 236 would-be buyers. They also called various retailers (Apple stores, Target, Best Buy, etc.) looking for product. The results of their survey were released Sunday night. Their findings:
Munster is sticking with his estimate of 400,000 to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 13, 2011 8:39 PM ET
A curated selection of the weekend's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.
"The iPhone is built for speed, but that's not what you get with a CDMA phone. I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane." -- AT&T PR head Larry Solomon on the upcoming Verizon iPhoneChances are very, very good Verizon will finally give millions of smartphone-toting Americans the one thing they've clamored MORE JP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 10, 2011 6:00 AM ET
Think/Do Tank is advertising for job candidates.
With the purchase of its New York home behind it, Google (GOOG) now has some space to grow its new initiatives. One of the most noteworthy of the past year was picking up former U.S. State Department and '21st Century Statecraft' specialist Jared Cohen to start Google Ideas.
If you aren't familiar with Cohen, he's the State Department official that kept Twitter online during the MORESeth Weintraub - Dec 28, 2010 3:07 PM ET
The way startups raise money is changing, fast. Angels, super angels and VCs have to figure out the new rules, but that's good -- really good -- for founders themselves.
By JS Cournoyer, contributor
I have been reading about the changing landscape of how technology companies get their initial outside funding after friends and family have chipped in. Seed or early stage investing, as it is referred to by entrepreneurs, angels, VCs MORENov 8, 2010 4:29 PM ET
Despite rumored bids from Google and Yahoo and lawsuits from disgruntled small businesses, Geoff Donaker says the popular listings service is right where it wants to be -- connecting with the young and affluent.
Over the last year, popular business listings site Yelp experienced several notable developments -- and not all of them were welcome. The company founded in 2004 by former PayPal employees Jeremy Stoppelman and Russell Simmons, now serves MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 12, 2010 11:56 AM ET
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