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Why Is New York Attractive To European Startups?

There’s talk that New York is now becoming more attractive to many European startups as the location for their first U.S. office although that may come as a surprise to some. Investors too are increasingly becoming more and more interested in the startup eco-system that’s been constructed there. While Silicon Valley has made sense for most companies from abroad, New York’s attributes are starting to shine and there are a number of reasons for this.



What Are The Details Exactly?

Andrew Wong, NYC resident and founder of NY Entrepreneurs Business Network, believes that a startup “ecosytem” should meet the following conditions:

  • mentors and advisors
  • startup programs
  • capital access
  • government policies
  • media outlets
  • universities and engineering programs
  • organizers and connectors



According to Wong, NYC meets each except those that fall under “universities and engineering programs.” He says, “Doesn’t seem that we can compete with Silicon Valley for the affluence of computer science talents. Whether or not we can build a city-owned university or institution that offers the right CS programs like Stanford University will be the determining factor to close the gap for the talent war between the Valley and the Alley.”


While a New York university may not have a computer science program to match that of Stanford’s, there has been recent talk to build a new tech campus in the city. In addition, one of the reasons European startups are building their U.S. based office New York is precisely because of its proximity to Boston’s world class academic institutions, not to mention being within short range of Carnegie Mellon’s tech talent.’s CEO Dimitri Grishin, who just announced that he would be putting $25 million of his own money to invest in robotics, named this proximity to education as one of his reasons for choosing NYC.



In Their Own Words

Cenk Ipeker of Bilbus puts it this way, “There is an extremely fast growing startup culture that is increasingly attracting more talent from the top schools in the country located in the NY to Boston region and away from other industries. It has been much easier to attract talented interns from Ivy League schools like Princeton for us. The startup scene is also very diverse and seems to be in perpetual party mode.”


Jay Kazanins of Campalyst makes another key point, “Everything works 24/7 (food, FedEx, the subway) which is in sync with how startups operate, and time difference (especially to London) is bearable especially for early birds. I would say that if someone has figured out their business model, has the product, engineering team somewhere outside of NYC and targets agencies, publishers or finance companies then NYC is a great place to come scale the business.”



When I interviewed entrepreneur Greg Selkoe, he mentioned to me his own efforts working with the city of Boston to have it reflect more of a “24 hour” subculture so that more and more startups would be attracted to the environment. Selkoe even mentioned this one of the reasons he felt that many of the talented alumni from Boston universities end up leaving.


It’s not clear that New York will come close to surpassing Silicon Valley, but New York seems to offer its own set of advantages that as of late, are proving more and more attractive to European startups.


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Author : Sam Melon

Sam finds writing to be a positive and relaxing way to process his experiences. Luckily, he's in a position where he can spend much of his time doing just that! When he's not writing, he enjoys taking photographs, playing music, and having a nice chat or two.

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