New York’s Technology Future: Is It a Bubble or a Lasting Boom?
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content. “You can’t be in those areas without being in New York,” he said. “The whole ad tech business is centered in New York.”
He also offered a few opinions on the rival technology scene in Beantown. “Boston has lost a lot of its luster,” Patricof said. “It’s really more of a biotech type of environment.”
Looking at the overall funding ecosystem, he voiced concerns about the amount of seed capital fueling the rise of startups. That can lead to copycats and me-tooism, which muddles the landscape. He said there is not enough Series A money around for all the companies that have proliferated. “An awful lot of stuff we’re seeing is very imitative of other operations,” he said. “There are just too many of the same thing.”
The efforts by Bloomberg’s administration to nurture the local innovation community might lead to more original technology being created in New York, according to NYCEDC’s Li, but it will take time and a lot more engineers. She talked up the Cornell NYC Tech $2 billion project underway to establish an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island.
“New York is really underweight in the number of engineers we produce when compared to the size of our economy,” she said. Existing academic institutions in the city produce their share of technology professionals, Li said, but New York clearly wants to prove it can be an even bigger player in innovation. “There was just no way we were going to achieve our ambition of being a tech hub through organic growth on the talent front,” she said.
The forthcoming Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island and other efforts in the city, she said, are expected to double the number of graduate-level engineers in New York—in about 20 years. “In the short term we’ll have a lot more students in New York,” she said, “in the long term we’ll have a lot more intellectual property.”
For its part, the Center for an Urban Future sees the need for more innovations from the city’s academic institutions needs to be commercialized. “If New York is going to continue to take the next steps, we’ve got to have more entrepreneurs and growth companies coming out of our universities,” Bowles said.
Whoever succeeds Bloomberg—whose third and final term ends in December—as mayor of New York will also have to maintain a positive outlook even if things sour. “There’s going to be a lot of startups that fail in New York in the years ahead,” Bowles said. “So many have started in the last few years, they’re not all going to succeed. The next mayor has got to be supportive even in light of some negative press that may come.”