I am starting to ’get’ NYC. It all seemed like a chaotic mess of a city at first: incredibly complex yet soulless, fitting the stereotype of the profit-driven financial district full of investment bankers. However, having spent a week experiencing some of the most inspirational entrepreneurs and academics reinventing the Big Apple, as well as the environment they operate in, my impression of the city is changing rapidly. What is unfolding in front of my eyes is a lively and exciting ecosystem, in which immersing myself will be a life-changing experience.
A new generation of talented entrepreneurs and academics are creating stuff out of nothing in university labs, incubators, coworking spaces, rooftop farms, even cafés. Certain sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn are being reshaped and reinvigorated with innovation. Smart fashion, sustainable food, clean energy, fintech, disruptive education, Big Data-driven city-wide experiments… Technology is giving entrepreneurs the means to create and validate products, gain access to global markets, and scale their business more quickly than ever before. Everybody is going digital. No exceptions. No excuses.
New York is not for the faint-hearted, though. To quote Ziv Navoth, CEO of Paragraph: there is a whole generation of entrepreneurs who have never failed. Being admitted to the best incubators these days requires much more than good ideas and a good team. In a highly energized ecosystem such as New York one has to execute ideas extremely quickly to stay in the game. Design, validate, adjust, grow, then do it again and again and again. Everybody is looking for those real ’toothbrush products’, products which customers cannot live without. With a validated product, however, raising capital has never been as easy as nowadays.
It just makes sense to start a business in NYC.