Whilst attending Active NYC courtesy of the UKTI and the Guardian I was fortunate to meet social business icons from Amazon, EBay, EMI, Facebook, MSNBC to name a few, not forgetting Mayor Bloomberg’s(Mayor of New York) Chief Digital Officer. In addition to a plethora of start-ups, SME’s, media professionals and the list goes on.
Whilst having a hot drink I was approached by a magazine editor, she introduced herself and out of the blue she asked why I do what I do? Not who am I? Or what is Alternatives Inc.? Nope just why do I do what I do? I thought it was a test I wasn’t made aware off. My answer was ‘to close the opportunity divide’. Short and snappy I thought.
‘Good answer’ she replied. She then went onto say that she felt my response somewhat emotional. I explained that what I do is not driven just by passion but that I do have an emotional attachment to my work, as it allows me to develop authenticity whilst working with clients. Her response was consider working in New York City.
That news highlights a major new trend developing and accelerating rapidly in the past year: the Big Apple’s rise as the new hub for start-up creation and investment. New York City is now home to over thousands of start-ups. Many of them are venture-backed, and hundreds more are backed by angel funding from the New York Angels and other leading investing groups.
A decade ago, this would have been used to portray Silicon Valley. But now that has changed and New York is the centre of the East Coast’s rising start-up world.
I ask is this sustainable?
Yes: because New York has a convergence of financial resources, committed individuals, and landmark public private partnerships. Why? Because before the recession much of the financial resources were concentrated in finance. But now, the city has started to pour resources into creating a sustainable industry for the city to rest its laurels on technology. This mixture of new public and private resources has pushed tech’s rise steadily, with a clear focus on smaller, expansion-oriented, consumer-facing companies that can leverage the tri-state’s vast population of individual private investors and take advantage of its strong mix of media and advertising.
New York was once known as the financial capital of the world, as is London. Money moved there and does here – and still does. But now the Big Apple can add something more – it can be the city that incubates companies, not just the one that finances them. I wonder is London taking the same journey, the only difference being person/ business per capita is greater in the Big Apple.