6:08 pm May. 9, 2012
On the heels of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent assertions about the increasing importance of the city's tech sector, a think tank has released a report charting a surge in the industry’s strength in New York City.
Jonathan Bowles, the co-author of the Center for an Urban Future's study, called "New Tech City," argues that, "In a few short years, New York has basically gone from a second-rate tech center to literally the nation's second leading hub for technology companies."
“In 2006, I wouldn’t have put New York anywhere on the map [of leading tech hubs],” tech entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa told the report’s authors. “Now it is literally number two. If there is any second to Silicon Valley, it’s now New York, not Boston.”
Among other things, the report finds that since 2007, investors have funded 486 New York City digital startups, including 10, like Gilt Groupe, Tumblr, ZocDoc and ideeli, that have raised more than $50 million; and 82 that have raised $10 million or more, like ActivePath and Exclusively.In.
Funded startups played largely to New York's traditional strengths with an emphasis on digital media, e-commerce, social networking, advertising and finance.
Tumblr C.E.O. David Karp recently described New York's distinctive "flavor," as "very design-centric and very media-centric."
"New York continues to really excel in that sort of stuff because, again, we’re just so steeped in it," he said.
The report similarly says that "the vast majority of new 'tech' companies being established today aren’t building new technologies but applying them in creative ways to offer new products and services."
Employment in the tech sector, meanwhile, was found to have increased 28.7 percent in the past five years, to 52,900. By contrast, overall private-sector job growth has inched up only 3.6 percent.
Manhattan is home to the lion's share of the start-ups, followed distantly by Brooklyn. The zip code 10010, which encompasses the Flatiron and Madison Square Park, is the most popular, followed by 10003, which includes Union Square and the East Village.
But the report, which was funded by AT&T and the Association for a Better New York, a civic group popular with establishment types, did sound some notes of caution, pointing to the paucity of engineers, recent layoffs at Gilt Groupe and Second Market, and the fact that, "None of the major tech IPOs in the last couple of years—including Facebook, LinkedIn, Groupon and Angie’s List—involved New York companies."
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