New York’s tech scene is the fastest growing in the country, but has a way to go before it rivals Silicon Valley. A few key things are needed, Ben Lerer said at PandoMonthly tonight.
One is capital, particularly on the late stage side. “It’s a problem,” he says. “It’s a frustration. Great companies are going to be able to get on a plane and raise,” but there should be more opportunities to do it in New York. Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital recently announced it would raise $150 million to invest in later stage companies, which is hopeful.
The opposite seems to be true outside of New York — investors want to wait until the risk is taken away before they jump into a company, making later stage deals more popular.
But New York’s angel investment scene is strong, thanks in part to the strength of the city’s TechStars chapter. And there is lots of seed money from people who got rich in the finance industry who don’t understand the need to continue supporting a startup across rounds, Lerer says.
New York also needs several billion dollar- and even 10 billion dollar-companies. New York has some fascinating startups, but he has yet to see the next 10 billion dollar company, he says. New York thought Gilt Groupe might be that company, but it’s now clear that’s not happening.
He thinks Zocdoc may have the opportunity to do that as it expands globally. Foursquare could be such a company if it finds a way to monetize quickly, he said.