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The Sleepless City vs. the Valley of the Geeks

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 12:28pm
Janine E. Mooney, Editor

JanineABM

Silicon Valley has never been shy to turn away dim startups, but that’s not the reason young entrepreneurs are looking towards the east coast to plant their roots.

Let’s take a look at the cold, hard facts here - Silicon Valley is a breeding ground for tech startups. They are known as being more “ambitious”, according to Business Insider. But who measures ambition?

Flip to the east coast – New York City has twice as many female founders than Silicon Valley, and its startup founders are more educated than Silicon Valley startup founders. But Silicon Valley is still trumping in success rates.

So what’s really drawing startups to Silicon Alley?

For starters, the total technology employment in New York City increased 28% from 2005 to 2010, and now accounts for more than 90,000 workers at more than 7,100 high tech establishments, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

But perhaps it’s the growing number of resources available for techies seeking success. Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology recently won a contest to build a graduate science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, just east of Manhattan. With the help of SOM, an architecture mega-firm, the university submitted a preliminary design concept that blew their competitors out of the water. Cornell may not use SOM for the actual project, but either way the campus won’t be built until 2017.

Cornell isn’t the only player in this game of feeding youthful tech startups. Mario Casabona, founder and Managing Partner of TechLaunch, is looking forward to the 12-week, mentor-driven business development program—called LaunchPad—giving “portfolio companies” a chance to develop and showcase their ideas. Funded in part by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), TechLaunch is making resources available across the Hudson at Montclair State University.

“We’re looking to attract top-tier talent who would otherwise leave the state because the support infrastructure simply wasn’t there,” says Casabona. “We’re going to provide them with an open work space, a collaborative culture.”

Casabona says his venture will supply aspiring tech entrepreneurs with help in the early stages, as he thinks that is when it is truly needed.

Silicon Valley would tend to agree with Casabona, as their startups raise two to three times more than New York startups during the early stages, which Startup Genome calls Discovery, Validation and Efficiency. New York startups actually raise 27% more during the scale stage.

Hopeful tech entrepreneurs may still gather in the Valley, where seed money grows on trees, and although NYC may not be coined the “Valley of the Geeks” or the “The Land of Tech Pioneers and Heroes” any time soon, the sleepless city is giving Silicon Valley some fierce competition.

 

April 25, 2012

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