If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.
For years, New York City has been at the epicenter of United States’ culture with the fashion and entertainment industries leading the way. With the top modeling agencies, MTV and the home of American broadway plays, there’s no denying New York City is bustling with creativity.
With a big focus on technology in Silicon Valley and Boston, New York City slowly made its way to becoming a powerhouse tech player. In this week’s Tech Center tracker, David Manela, manager and CRO of Fiverr, spoke with PYMNTS on how New York City is becoming a hot spot for tech.
Before we jump into the post, here are a few quick facts about New York City and its tech scene:
- New York City’s population was 8,550,405 (2015)
- Albany, New York’s state capital, has a population of just over 150,000.
- Gross metropolitan product (GMP) of New York City (2015): $1.33 trillion (2012)
- GMP of New York City per capita (2015): $57,293
- New York City median household income $43,261
- There are approximately 20K startups in New York City
- New York City had an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent (2015)
- New York City startups received approximately $9.5 billion (2016)
With its access to a multitude of industries and startups in 2016 alone receiving $9.5 billion, the New York City tech scene is burgeoning and prime to be the next great tech center. With New York City having tech company offices including the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, the city has a lot to offer in terms of tech job opportunity and growth.
One of the larger pieces of tech news coming out of New York City is its decision to fully commit itself to the tech sector. As recent as December 2016, New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced the city’s plans to build a dedicated 58,000 square feet tech hub in the middle of the Union Square neighborhood. Situated near Gramercy, the Flatiron District, the East Village and Greenwich Village on Manhattan’s east side, this tech hub will have access to a wide variety of talent and innovation.
David Manela, manager and CRO of Fiverr, a creative and digital services marketplace, shared with PYMNTS his views on the growing tech industry in New York City.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation:
PYMNTS: Can you describe your personal and professional experience with the tech community in New York City?
DM: I arrived in New York City in 1997 and have had a 20-year career in the e-commerce and digital space. Over the years, I have held executive positions in three different startups, so I’ve long been part of this community.
PYMNTS: What do you think makes New York City (or New York as a whole) an attractive location for both entrepreneurs and investors? Is there anything people may find surprising about operating a business there?
DM: NYC is the most diverse city in the world, and diversity drives creativity and innovation. NYC is also the center of one of the biggest markets in the world for the tech industry. Being in NYC means knowing your market
PYMNTS: How does the startup and tech scene in NYC differ from other cities in the U.S.?
DM: New York City gives you access across key industries (technology, fashion, finance, media and advertising) and access spurs collaboration and innovation. Want to succeed? Keep networking.
PYMNTS: What are some of the challenges facing startups in NYC? Are there any initiatives to help address those barriers?
DM: The most difficult challenge I’ve found is finding the right technical talent that fits your company. Competition is high and getting the right technical team in place is probably the first product market fit test of a startup.
PYMNTS: How has NYC’s startup ecosystem changed in recent years? What do you think has sparked this transformation?
DM: The city has done a tremendous job at creating a true ecosystem for startups and technology companies to live. It’s just the beginning, but this environment has allowed the tech sector of New York City to be the second largest employer after the financial industry; over one quarter of a million jobs.
PYMNTS: What sectors of the technology landscape are thriving in NYC?
DM: New York City has an amazing freelance community. For companies just getting on their feet without hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on business needs, hiring freelancers can save time and money.