Just last month when we started chalking out our sketch on preparing a kickass handy startup guide on NYC, to be very frank, we went haywire at first! Being a startup ourselves, we definitely understand those so called “Starting” years of building a product (I consider it to be more like the ultimate “Do or Die” situation you can say) and how difficult it is to gather all the initial not-so-mattering-yet-important details from banking to incubation to a lot many more stuff. The first few days of searching for that one working space for your team without bothering your pockets much can take ages when it comes to cities like NYC which has literally over 30-40 such options! You don’t want to spend half a year settling up with these formal details, do you? All you need is a “Handy Directory for startups” where all those “Thank God! You’re my savior” numbers are enlisted when it comes to starting up! We wanted to come out with it but something was stopping us and we didn’t know what. Maybe the biggest factor was the fact that we don’t belong to NYC ourselves. Yet we were aspiring to build a guide for NYC Startups! Strange!
Something wonderful that we did was in the first place to buy a Kindle Editon of “Tech & the City: The Making of New York’s Startup Community” by Alessandro Piol and of course with a well crafted foreword from none other than AVC Fred Wilson. Fully loaded with more than 50 amazing stories of NYC entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, members of the Bloomberg administration and other stakeholders, this book literally opened our eyes about New York City and how it is shortly about to become the next Silicon (V)Alley. This led to our very recent infographic entitled “Rise of NYC as a startup hub”.
We still remember those first few days, it was fun though!
The first few days went with rigorous searching on the web for top incubators in NYC, co-working spaces, angel investors, legal firms, banks and what not. All that our search history had during this time was just anything and everything related to the NYC Startup Hub. Sometimes we use to land up reading on NYC food trends and this eventually led to our NYC Food truck series. But that’s a different track altogether! Under30CEO gave us a good top 10 writeup when it comes to NYC Incubators and Accelerators. TNW’s feature on NYC coworking spaces is another rocking feature worth mentioning too. When it comes to lawyers, we literally went pulling down our hairs but Xconomy and Fizzlaw quite saved us from doing so. There were also some extremely resourceful articles on NYC Startup lawyers on ChubbyBrain and Matt Mireles blog too! Oh, not to forget the two Quora discussions on startup friendly banks and venture funds. The search results also made us come forth a brilliant website dedicated rightfully to the NYC Startup Hub and has an apt name too- http://nystartuphub.com/. When we thought that finally our research is nearly at its end, one more category suddenly popped out of our minds from TNW’s feature on the best tech hangouts in NYC. Supernova!
With all the research done, all we wanted to do now was get some verification from our fellow New Yorkers. After all, we don’t want you guys to feel after reading this article “Oh, what do they know about NYC staying 1000s of miles away”. Thankfully, our friends Snapette, NY Tech Day and Silver Living were of great help here! [ Already, Mashable had come up with a very well directed infographic on this entitled “Silicon Valley vs Silicon Alley” last year].
Out of sheer admiration after reading the book, we didn’t waste even a minute in contacting Alessandro and giving him a vote of thanks on Twitter. Surprisingly, he was very supportive of our idea on the guide and even agreed to offer us any help required on the research. NYC didn’t seem very far away after this. After one month of continuous research, we, the super ninjas of StartupsFM finally announce you the completion of our first ever CityBeat guide, all dedicated for the startups in NYC. Happy downloading!
Let’s start with lawyers and banks
Now comes the time of providing you with some hands on information about all those wonderful startup friendly people and organizations who have become the jewels of our guide. Starting with are the lawyers, our saviors when it comes to understanding LAW! Adam Dinow from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati serves on the board of directors of the over 23,000 member organization NY Tech Meetup, and is also a faculty member at General Assembly on matters of corporate law. If you see his list of clients, you’ll know why he may be the perfect option for you. Another WSGR Attorney is Selim Day who has over 20 years of experience in corporate law. Again, Steven L. Baglio’s website reads “He represents entrepreneurs as they form businesses, counsels young companies through their initial rounds of financing, provides general corporate and intellectual property guidance, executes M&A and public offering transactions, and works with public companies as outside securities compliance and M&A counsel.” David L. Concannon from Orrick and Roman R. Fichman or more specifically “The Legalist” are excellent options too!
For banks, we always tend to think that they cannot be startup friendly. But strangely, we did find five such options who can be of help. Look at Silicon Valley Bank – Christoph Westphal, Founder and Partner Longwood Fund says that “SVB has helped me with several companies. They have connected me with the best service providers to build my bench strength.” With four offices and over a billion dollar in assets, Square 1 Bank is all set to helps in times of need. Three other quite popular banks with lucrative business loan packages are HSBC, Comerica and Bridgenb.
Time to form a team and find a suitable workplace
The perfect team can only be built if you the right members onboard. That’s why you need sites like Founderdating and Startuply. Founderdating proudly says that their network includes founders or early employees from Zynga, Stackmob, Google, Gilt & Box. Inside Startups turned from a weekly list of five jobs to tens of thousands of signups which makes them a very promising place to post jobs definitely. Hirelite says that they are “cheaper than a career fair and with better interactions” and the best thing is Early Stage Startups get 50% off per event! Two other very useful sites when it comes to startup jobs and hires has to be Startuply and Whitetruffle.
Co-working only works if it comes at a reasonable rate! You don’t want to pinch your pockets much at such a crucial time of your career, do you? And that’s quite the reason why NYC is like loaded with low-rate coworking options. When at one end, WixLounge offers FREE coworking space, Fueled Collective gives you plush leather couches, impeccably designed conference rooms, year round ice cream, and ping pong tournaments and a lot more for $650! The on campus classes on General Assembly from renowned instructors can also make you learn a lot! Hive at 55 starts their membership plans from $30 daily to around $1800 for private offices whereas that of Dumbo Startup Lab starts from $200 to around $1200. When it comes to looks and comfort, we also found New Work City and Quicksuites a very preferable option. Again, office amenities seem very well chalked out in WeWork. Not to leave behind women entrepreneurs, In Good Company is doing their best to make the community more agile! Last but not the least is the latest announcement from the 500 Startups team themselves about their newest coworking space in Manhattan. Interesting!
Incubator and Accelerators together with startup mentors
Incubators and accelerators have been the recent trend in the startup world. And why shouldn’t it be? I mean who would not want mentorship from experts about those nitty-gritties of starting up. That’s why probably NYC is filled with them. Starting with the accelerator with 166 individual mentors and 47 alumni companies covering three batches already are Techstars. 250 passionate entrepreneurs from varied industries are again, as we say, breathing innovation in We Work Labs. Their supporters range from Elance to Microsoft Bizspark. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator comprising of 200+ industry leaders with the option of providing startups with $40,000 in seed funding does not seem a bad option either. Hatchery promises to “bridge investor and entrepreneur communities, so they can talk to each other instead of at each other.” Not far behind in line is Dreamit Ventures with 127 companies having completed their Dreamit cycle with up to $25,000 in seed capital. With companies like Bitly and Tweetdeck doing wonders in the market already, Betaworks can be your option too. Founder Institute again has declared themselves as the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program. Why not? Spread in 55 cities with 1000 companies, 89.5% survival rate and 10,000 jobs created, they should be the ones. Also, there are some business specific incubators too – CFDA for fashion industry experts and Hot Bread Kitchen for food startups. For women-founded companies in mobile technology is Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) who are really on the path to make women power stand out!
For startup mentors and advisors, we have chosen 5 industry experts you must have already heard of. First comes the (A)VC who’s had over 20 years of experience in this industry with investments in Web 2.0 companies like Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and many more. None other than Fred Wilson himself. Named as one of the “top 100 most influential New Yorkers in the digital business community” by Young Entrepreneur’s SAI group, Dave Lerner can also help you learn a lot. Helping new businesses grow via courses and media is another mentor Chris Brogan. Hayley Barna, founder and Co-CEO at Birchbox and Neil Blumenthal at Warby Parker are also excellent options.
Marketing strategists and PR firms
Now when it comes to marketing strategists, all that you need to check is their social profiles. The five names we could think of are Mark Schaefer, founder of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, Jinal Shah, she’s quite an awesome person when it comes to digital media. Ana Andjelic’s blog itself reads “I [love] marketing”, nothing more to say! Avi Wilensky again has all his social profiles displayed right on his website itself and, I must say, they are worth a watch. Lastly, it’s Tony Zambito who, as his blog rightfully says “has opened the eyes of many executives and organizations on how customer research, buyer insight research, buying behavior, and a target buyer persona are vital means to inform strategies aimed at achieving marketing and sales effectiveness.”
PR and Marketing firms can be your good savior when it comes to handling contacts. Five names we could think of are 5WPR who have earned the Gold Stevie Award for 2013 PR Agency of the year and a spot on the Inc. 500 list too. MWW believes in providing solutions that “Matters More” to you, clients including big shots like Vimeo, BMW, Mcdonalds and more. Small Girls PR has been quoted as “Two PR girls who clearly have a knack for building buzz” by Glamour. SparkPR states that they create the best campaigns that get noticed. Launchsquad’s client list seems to be neverending with names like AOL, Asana, Topsy, Cut The Rope and what not!
Meet graphic designers and studios
Dribbble and Behance were of great help when it comes to searching graphic designers and studios. Meagan Fisher and Softfacade’s Dribbble profiles have some excellent works displayed already. No wonder they have 21,846 and 17,098 followers respectively. Softfacade also does digital products, design and development, for example the new speedtest app which has already taken arounnd 30M installs on Android and 60M installs on iOS. You could check out their stunning website which has grabbed the Awwwards this year. Again, when it comes to Behance, you can’t overlook RoAndCo Studio (44003 followers), Tobias van Schneider (46552 followers) and Sagmeister & Walsh (113591 followers). Their design just rocks!
Web Dev Shops on your way
Now, while starting up, you might often think of searching for web development shops who would make the work easier for you. Look at NYC Dev Shop, their website itself can tell you why we have enlisted! From web design & development to iPhone development to cloud based software solutions, Rustybrick can also be of help. Wondersauce again has big client names like HBO, Samsung onboard! For ecommerce website builders, you could check Dotcom Weavers. Located in the heart of New York, Icreon want to revolutionise the world of business with IT.
Where can you get your investment from
Investment is what you are absolutely thinking all the time! That’s quite obvious for any startup. So, for this category we have tried to do as much detailing as possible. Now, the segregations we came out with has Venture Funds doing early stage deals on the top. This comprises of names like First Round Capital, some of their best investments being on companies like Square, Fab and Uber. On the other hand, Union Square Ventures has portfolio companies like Codeacademy, Duck Duck Go and Etsy! RRE and Greycroft Partners are also doing super jobs. Another name we can’t without is Firstmark Capital, with some major investments being for Pinterest, Shopify and Second Market.
Micro VCs doing seed deals are also available in plenty. Quotidian Ventures list has Nestio, Loverly and of course our old friend Docracy. Betaworks have recently launched Instapaper, Dots and more big brands. Lerer Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, Founder Collective, we love them all for their spirit in uplifting startups and most importantly, in making “Innovation” thrive.
Now comes the time of referring to business angels- both Angel Groups and Individual Angels. For Angel Groups, Golden Seeds is a great option. They have invested $58M in 58 companies since 2005. New York Angels are also doing a great job with more than $45M invested already! ARC Angel Fund and LSAN Fund for Life Sciences are not a bad option either. Keiretsu Forum’s New York chapter is also growing everyday. For active individual angels, the ultimate five options we got for you are Esther Dyson, Michael Yavonditte, Bob Rice, Brian Cohen and Jeff Stewart.
Where can you pitch your startup
For Startup Pitches, we have to start with Disrupt NY organized by Techcrunch every year. You could be a part of the Hackathon, Startup Battlefield, Startup Alley and Hardware Alley and make your skills stand out. Other excellent options could be the 60-second elevator pitch by Startup Pitch Night or Open Pitch Days in New York by Startupbootcamp. This October SwitchPitch has also come to New York with their “deal-making” options too! Startout and Techweek have also come up with Startup Summits worth being a part of.
That was all for the individual detailing. If you check our slideshow, you’ll see we’ve also provided additional details on business certifications you may need before starting up in NYC, websites to refer for continuous updates on the startup world. Not only this, we are also providing you with a handbook with contact details on all the wonderful people and organizations whom we have mentioned too!
Now all that you need to do is acknowledge our research and let us know what you feel about it. This is not the end of the journey, infact City Beat has just begun. We plan to travel round the globe around cities which are breathing innovation over the years, where the startup festival is on everyday, our next stop being BERLIN! Keep reading!