Silicon Alley 2017: Looking back…and forward
2017 was a great year for New York’s Silicon Alley. Let’s take a look…
1. History was made
New York beat out San Francisco as a venture capital powerhouse. According to Business Insider, “The New York City metropolitan area was the most highly-funded region of the US in the third quarter of 2017 — pushing San Francisco out of its long-held spot”. VCs invested $4.227 billion in NYC companies over the third quarter of 2017, compared to $4.177 billion in funding for companies in San Francisco and the North Bay Area (per Q3 2017 MoneyTree Report from PwC and CB Insights).
2. The ranks of senior venture capitalists strengthened
Four prominent New York women in venture became first female Partners at their respective investment firms in Q4 2017. Beth Ferreira and Catherine Ulrich joined FirstMark Capital, Rebecca Kaden joined Union Square Ventures, and Hayley Barna was promoted to General Partner at First Round Capital’s NY office. Silicon Alley is keeping up its equal opportunity employment efforts.
3. New international outposts opened
2017 brought exciting new international startup sandboxes to the already highly cosmopolitan Silicon Alley. NUMA New York, TechHub NYC, and B. New York City’s counterparts have had much success overseas, and started their U.S. expansion in 2017 bringing great companies with them. NUMA New York’s Photolemur is a sister product of Aurora HDR 2018, selected by Apple as the Best Mac app 2017.
4. Delegations from around the world came to visit and learn
In addition to permanent outposts, such as SwissNex, Canadian Tech Accelerator, German Accelerator, Starta Accelerator for Eastern European companies, and an active support of their national startups’ US expansion from the UK, France, and the Netherlands Trade Missions, many national startup delegations from other countries spent a few days in New York soaking in the knowledge and the camaraderie of Silicon Alley. StartupPortugal, Brazil Innovators, Taiwan Startup Stadium, Startup Project PH (the Philippines), and a Vietnamese delegation are all cases in point. Daren McKelvey, founder of R1 Labs, co-facilitated NYC innovation immersion programs for many of them.
This pilgrimage will likely continue. According to Daren, “more and more emerging market stakeholders are looking to invest time and resources into leveraging NYC’s innovation community as a place to gain invaluable insights and connections. There is a ton to learn depending on what the delegation’s goals are, be it a 2-day or full week visit.”
5. The financial capital of the world embraced crypto
Bonnie Halper, founder of Startup One Stop and a longtime expert of Silicon Alley, says 2017 was a critical year for cryptocurrencies. “I’ve been following Bitcoin, which was the first cryptocurrency, and blockchain for a few years – and remember when a Bitcoin conference would occupy one or two small conference rooms downstairs at the Javits Center. With the explosion of the number of cryptocurrencies and their value, cryptocurrencies have at long last reached the tipping point – and has hit the zeitgeist in a big way.”
Indeed, famed financiers made big bets on crypto in 2017. CBOE and CME Group have launched Bitcoin futures trading, with NASDAQ set to follow suit in 2018. Goldman Sachs confirmed preparations to set up a Cryptocurrency trading desk.
Bonnie continues, “But bear in mind that cryptocurrencies are just the first use case. Keep your eye on the big picture: it’s all about the blockchain. The internet, meaning web 1.0 and web 2.0, was about distribution, and eventually put power in the hands of the few. The blockchain is about decentralization. The blockchain has the potential to change everything.”
Trellis NYC, an organization that is building Blockchain and Innovation community, is keeping all of our eyes on the big picture. Trellis held their inaugural and a very successful ICOnference in September 2017. Watch them in 2018!
As we kick off 2018, we at Early Growth Financial Services are looking forward to another great year in Silicon Alley. May it be merry and bright.
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