The Big Apple's Startup Ecosystem Gets Even Bigger

NYC's startup ecosystem is growing at a rapid pace, especially in Cybersecurity and AI.
Sean Ludwig
on March 20, 2019

It will come as no surprise that New York City features one of the most formidable technology and startup scenes in the U.S., given that it is one of the financial and cultural centers of the world.

In fact, New York City is the second highest performing startup ecosystem in the world after Silicon Valley. It is home to more than 7,000 startups, with companies working in a wide variety of sub-sectors including Adtech, Advanced Manufacturing, AR/VR, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Enterprise, Food, Fintech, Health and Life Sciences, Media, and Real Estate.

In our recent Surge Cities report with Inc. Magazine, New York ranked #7 for early stage funding deals and #22 for job creation, out of 50 metro areas in the U.S. The report spotlighted the city’s growth of technology jobs and powerhouse unicorns like BuzzFeed, Etsy, Warby Parker, and WeWork. NYC-based E-Commerce brands have also become a force of their own in recent years, including Glossier and Away.

"New York's always been a finance city, and it's always been an advertising city, and direct-to-consumer businesses are primarily marketing and financial-modeling exercises," Hubble founder Jesse Horwitz told Inc.

Our 2018 assessment of the New York City startup ecosystem chronicled the following highlights including:

  • The NYC tech ecosystem has grown at a rapid pace in recent years, going from about $2.3 billion invested in tech startups in 2012 to about $13 billion invested in 2017.
  • New York’s top unicorns include WeWork, one of the most valuable startups in the world, valued at $47 billion; Infor, the enterprise software startup, at $10 billion (which will soon change when it goes public); Peloton, the tech-enabled fitness startup, at $4 billion; Sprinklr, the social media management startup, at $1.8 billion; and Warby Parker, the eyeglasses startup, at $1.7 billion.
  • NYC is the city with the most 3D printing activity in the world. Notable startups in this area include Shapeways, the 3D printing marketplace that has raised $107.5 million; Nanotronics, the company building advanced automated microscopes that has raised $71 million; and littleBits, an open source library of electronic modules that has raised $62.3 million.
  • New York City’s startup ecosystem has more than 100 Cybersecurity companies, a recent influx of top Israeli Cybersecurity startups opening NYC offices, and more than $1 billion in VC investments in the sub-sector for 2017.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, about 10% of VC funding in the ecosystem went to Health and Life Sciences startups. Unicorns include Oscar, the health insurance startup valued at $3.2 billion; and Flatiron Health, acquired by Roche in 2018 for $2.1 billion in what was the largest VC-backed exit out of New York in the past five years.

Yet there is still much more to be done and our New York-based members NYCEDC and Tech:NYC are working hard to improve the environment for startups and tech companies.

In 2018, the NYCEDC announced a partnership between NYC and France to fuel international expansions and investment. They also created Cyber NYC, which includes a $100 million public/private investment to grow the Cybersecurity sector in New York, and an innovation hub for Cybersecurity startups.

Tech:NYC has made a major impact as an advocate for startups in New York and a voice for sound tech policy at the city, state, and national levels. The organization regularly produces original research on the tech industry, hosts events with public officials (including a forum with Attorneys General candidates in 2018), and it spotlights exciting new startups each month with its Companies to Watch series.

These organizations have left an impact on NYC’s startup ecosystem, and we can’t wait to see what else they do in 2019.

We’re excited to showcase even more exciting results about NYC and dozens of other places in the forthcoming 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Sign up to receive updates here.

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