‘New Tech City’ Won’t Keep You From the Startup Graveyard

The future's so bright--you know the rest.

New Tech City (Center for an Urban Future)

The Center for an Urban Future, a think tank headed by Jonathan Bowles, has released a lengthy report  about New York City’s tech sector, titled “New Tech City.” The Center’s findings indicate amazing growth over the last decade. While “New Tech City” contains mostly good news for the local tech set, there is a dash of cold water–just a bit–to leaven any prospective startup’s bright-eyed optimism.

First, the good news!

  • New York is home to the fastest growing tech sector in the United states and has beaten Boston to become second only to Silicon Valley. Out of the top seven technology regions in the country only New York saw a rise in VC deals between 2007 and 2011. During those 4 years venture capital deals rose by 32% in New York while declining 11% nationwide.
  • Center for an Urban Future reports New York’s tech sector is sustainable and has major potential for growth in the future. This is in contrast to the dotcom bubble that burst so dramatically at the end of the 1990s.
  • The Center also found that Manhattan alone has 431 startups and in recent years more than a dozen established startups have migrated to New York from San Francisco and Boston.

Time for some real talk. New York is a good place for continued growth, but the report also notes many of these new startups will fail. Mr. Bowles elaborated in an email to Betabeat, stating that they interviewed over 50 people for the report and were told many startups won’t make it because “There just isn’t a market to support every one of them.”

“Many are competing in the same space,” Mr. Bowles told Betabeat, “For instance, look at all the companies in the fashion tech space. Already, at least one or two of those have shut down.” However, Mr. Bowles states this is a relatively normal thing for the industry–“a natural shaking out process.”

“All of that said,” wrote Mr. Bowles, “I think the bigger message from our report is that even if some of the city’s startups fail, the city is so much better positioned today to keep growing its digital sector.”

‘New Tech City’ Won’t Keep You From the Startup Graveyard