New York City and Boston: The Entrepreneurial Dream Team

4/1/11Follow @geshwiler

(Page 2 of 2)

collaboration. Brad Hargreaves, founding partner of General Assembly in New York, says, “New York companies need engineers from Boston. Boston startups need design and sales talent from New York. And, New Haven and Providence have great pools of young talent that need more exposure to the startup community.” Josh Grotstein, CEO of Motionbox, adds, “Boston and New York can become a more effective super-regional hub for entrepreneurship, leveraging the technological prowess in the Boston area and the front-end/marketing and media services expertise in New York.”

As my colleague and long-time NYC venture capitalist Bob Greene at Contour Ventures similarly puts it, “The VC industry across the country has realized that New York City is a vibrant and successful market to launch ventures. In particular, the ad-tech and fin-tech sectors are very strong in NYC, given the local depth of developers and customers.” He adds, “Just keep putting up the numbers, success stories are the proof!”

It’s one thing to launch a consumer brand, but Boston’s enterprise-class software and networking technologies help expand and support it. An example from CommonAngels’ own portfolio: OwnerIQ started in Boston with its ad-technology targeting consumers, but recently opened an office in New York to be close to customers and partners. This adds to CommonAngels’ existing NYC investments that include three other companies, or 15 percenpt of our portfolio and growing.

Boston-New York winning isn’t a slam dunk yet. “From a funding standpoint, we may be at parity [with Silicon Valley], but we’re not there yet from a cultural standpoint,” said Adam Neary, founder and CEO of Profitably who recently wrote a detailed blog post on the dynamics of fund raising in the Boston-New York area. “We’re getting there, and I’m really upbeat about it. It’s not just the tech community but so-called normal people [in New York who are now into entrepreneurship]. You go to a bar, and people know what TechStars is.”

Travel and communication could be better. As Hargreaves puts it, “Unfortunately, there is no easy and cost-effective way to travel between the major cities of the northeastern US. That is the region’s single greatest limiting factor.”

While there’s still plenty of room for improvement, it’s been a pleasure for us at CommonAngels to have been early investors in Xconomy. Its strong reporting, events, and commentary should help build more communication and teamwork among the entrepreneurial communities in New York City, Boston, and all points in between. Welcome, Xconomy to NYC! (And, look out, Silicon Valley.)

James Geshwiler, a managing director at CommonAngels for more than 10 years, has financed over 40 software and Internet companies and worked with them through over 100 rounds of investment and related changes in boards of directors. [Editor's note: CommonAngels is the lead investor in Xconomy.] Follow @geshwiler

Single Page Currently on Page: 1 2 previous page

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

  • http://kerskine.tumblr.com Keith Erskine

    James – great analysis. Travel time is just one of the issues. The other is that New York is full of Yankees fans.

    Seriously, anyone in the Boston area can be downtown in NYC for a 9:00 AM meeting. I know that Skyhook has done a lot of outreach to startups located there, and this year we’ll start seeing teams working between the two cities.

  • http://www.dailygrommet.com Jules Pieri

    James, It’s about time someone wrote this piece. Your point about the Acela is central. I’ve been going Boston-NY every week this year. When we got off the train just last night from a quick day trip, my company’s CMO said “It just felt like a regular work day. Got a ton done.” When I told a Bay Area VC about how seamlessly we go train back and forth and integrate NY folks into our work, she said, “How civilized.” It’s a gigantic advantage. I like your stats too…they are compelling.

  • Maia Heymann

    Nice article, James!

  • Mike Nugent

    Great article, James! Let’s hope the collaboration between the two cities continues an upward trend. If so, the East Coast will stand out in the venture landscape and hopefully draw talent and capital from the West.