The pace of innovation in the New York area is very impressive right now. Some of the top entrepenuers in the country are building and scaling companies in the NY ecosystem – Ron Conway, yesterday in an email to me (published with his permission)
With the announcement of Roger Ehrenberg’s new fund – IA Venture Strategies – NYC now has another top-tier seed fund. I’ve had the pleasure of investing with Roger a number of times. He’s not only a great investor but also a huge help to the companies he invests in. It’s great that he’s going to be even more active and I hope to work with him a lot more in the future.
The NYC tech scene is exploding. There are tons of interesting startups. I’m an investor in a bunch and started one (Hunch) so won’t even try to enumerate them as any list will be extremely biased (other people have tried). I will say that one interesting thing happening is the types of startups are diversifying beyond media (HuffPo, Gawker) to more “California-style” startups (Foursquare, Boxee, Hunch).
In terms of investors, NYC now has a number of seed investors / micro-VCs: IA Capital Partners, Betaworks, and Founder Collective (FC – which I am part of – has made 7 seed investments in NYC since we started last year). The god of seed investing, Ron Conway, who I quote up top, has recently decided to become extremely active in NYC. One of the nice things about having small funds is we don’t need to invest millions of dollar per round so we all frequently invest together.
NYC also has mid sized funds like Union Square (in my opinion and a lot of people in the industry they have surpassed Sequoia as the best VC in the country). We also have First Round, who very smartly hired the excellent Charlie (“Chris”) O’Donnell as their NYC guy.
Then we have the big VCs who have also been increasing their activity in NYC. Locally, we have Bessemer (Skype, LinkedIn, Yelp) and RRE. Boston firms that are very active and positive influences here include: Polaris (Dog Patch Labs), Spark, Matrix, General Catalyst, and Flybridge. Finally, some excellent California firms like True Ventures have made NYC their second home.
The one thing we really need to complete the ecosystem is a couple of runaway succesesses. As California has seen with Paypal, Google, Facebook etc, the big successes spawn all sorts of interesting new startups when employees leave and start new companies. They also set an example for younger entrepreneurs who, say, start a social networking site at Harvard and then decide to move.