The Impact of Startups on New York City

The Flatiron district in Manhattan is home to many technology startups
The Flatiron district in Manhattan is home to many technology startups | © Aurusdorus / Pixabay

New York’s startup scene is one of the fastest growing in the world, and is considered to be second only to San Francisco’s in terms of size and dollars invested. But what does having a huge startup community bring to the city?

New York’s technology startup community is just 30% the size of San Francisco’s, but it’s been growing for some time. Between 2009 and 2013, New York city tech startups enjoyed a 200% increase in investment, and a 33% rise in the number of jobs created.

Towards the end of 2017, venture capitalists invested more money in New York companies than those in the San Francisco and North Bay Area, knocking Silicon Valley off its long-held top spot. The numbers, from a report by PwC and CB Insights, are a landmark for New York’s startup scene, which saw $4.227 billion of investment in the third quarter of that year.

New York’s strength in other industries means most of the technology companies are associated with other sectors, like media, finance, fashion, or healthcare, which is largely in contrast with the technology-only startup world of Silicon Valley. Many of the city’s most successful technology companies operate across sectors, such as Buzzfeed, Bloomberg, and Etsy.

The Digital Future Lab in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.

This type of success is partially aided by incubators, organizations that work with startups to get them funding and guide them through their early years. One of the biggest incubators in New York is Future Labs, which is run by New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. Future Labs is a network of business hubs, and recently crunched the numbers to estimate how much money its startups have contributed to New York’s economy. The results were impressive: $4.06 billion since it launched in 2009.

The incubator, which is supported by New York City Economic Development Corporation, also claimed it has made 3,201 jobs in New York state, including 2,740 in New York City.

“Time and time again our academic institutions have served as major economic drivers, launching a new generation of companies in New York City,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett. “We are proud to have worked with NYU Tandon to help found the first city-funded incubator in the city, which has been a hotbed for innovation, job creation, and opportunity. The impact of NYU Tandon’s Future Labs further proves that public-private partnerships are critical to real economic growth.”

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