Poking Around in Startup Space In New York City
I've been poking around a bit in startup space in New York city lately. I find it entertaining. It is much like this blog in a way. I like doing it, but I am not quite sure why yet. Sometimes you don't know the results until you take a look. The habit came from when I worked at an ISP. I always found the tech mixers to be very entertaining. There is a kind of freedom in these places to talk about things which I don't find anywhere else.
Venture capital in New York City has been growing. There are a lot more companies starting up right now. People have been out of work so long, that many of them have decided to try new things. (Article from Crain's New York) http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100716/SMALLBIZ/100719881
For example, there are startup weekends where computer developers are willing to start running a company in a weekend. http://nyc.startupweekend.org/
I checked New York Area Startups a few days ago. There were 1345 companies now there 1360 companies. http://newyork.areastartups.com/ New York Area Startup is also on Linked In. On Demand Books which makes the Espresso Book Machine which is a print on demand machine is listed as one of the startups. http://www.ondemandbooks.com/
At the same time we are seeing a resurgence in spaces like NYC Resistor http://www.nycresistor.com/ and a rebirth of many hacker and maker spaces. I have not gone to look at a hacker space yet. It is something I plan on doing. It is much like my urge to go visit The Soho Gallery for Digital Art, I will get there eventually. There could be some very intersting new technology coming out at the community level by small companies and groups of individuals. Part of this growth could be because of new technology, specifically open source 3d printers.(New York Times Blog).
I see the possibility of some of the three dimensional print on demand technologies being eventually fused with paper print on demand technologies. I do not think this is that far away in the future. Incorporating designs made of plastic, metals, and other materials is going to become fairly common in hardcover books.
Incubator spaces for green technology are also growing as well. This has been getting into the news. NYC Acre http://www.nycacre.com/ is an interesting example. There is also Green Spaces. (Article from Crain's New York Business) http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20091120/SMALLBIZ/911209993
There are also new ways people are finding to fund these ventures. Everything from Kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com to lending social networks like Prosper (Article from Mashable.com) http://mashable.com/2007/06/20/prosper/
There is a different feel to the ventures being formed than the dot com boom. The companies are lean in low rent areas. They use open source software, focus on customers, and are often tied in with social networks. There is less of a focus on earning massive amounts of cash, but instead making people a living. (Article from New York Times Blog). http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/25/business/25unboxed.html
The lean startup fits perfectly into the concept of coworking and many small startups are using coworking spaces like New Work City. http://www.nwcny.com/ I visited this space to see how it looked. Over time I will also take a look at some of the other spaces as well.
In my own field, I follow http://www.twitter.com/mbstartuups which covers startups in the media field. Also O'Reilly publishers sponsors the Maker Fair which is very much a hacker or maker space. http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/10/innovation-education-and-the-m.html
I can see a resurgence for the United States economy coming, it will not come immediately, it will not come from the government, or big business. It will come from innovative spaces which need to grow and be supported.