Welcome to Silicon Alley

July 9, 2008   

A lot of people reach out to me when they move to New York City and ask about the New York tech community. In the past, I’ve sent them a nice long email of information. But I’m getting tired of that, so in the future, I’m just going to send them a link to this article. If you’re in the web tech industry, and you’re new to New York City, here’s everything I think you need to know:

The first thing you should do when you move to New York City to work in web technology is join the nextNY community and get a Meetup.com account.


nextNY was my first introduction to the New York Tech scene. It’s a wonderful group of 1,700+ people who self-organize using just a wiki and a Google Group email list. While there are old-timers who hold the passwords, the beauty of nextNY is its lack of hierarchy. Join the group tomorrow and you can be posting away.

The best part of nextNY, though, is just how high level the discussion is. On many lists, you find people posting random bits of unrelated info, typing IN ALL CAPS and self-promoting like crazy. nextNY is different. You’re more likely to read threads featuring advice about hiring for startups or how to get Angel and VC financing.

Finally, nextNY is great because when discussions show enough interest, someone eventually organizes an event where the topics are discusses in more detail. In the last year, the nextNY community has self-organized events on hiring, getting investment, new advertising strategies, sports marketing on the web, financial startups, and more.

Tech Meetups

Clear your calendar every first Tuesday of the month becayse the Original NY Tech Meetup is the must attend event in Silicon Alley. Month after month, 500 or so technologist pack IAC or Cooper Union and sit through 6 (hopefully) interesting demos of new, local technology. Afterward, folks inevitably find themselves in a nearby bar and talk about what they just saw, or about anything else that gets discussed in a bar. It’s one of the best ways to meet people in your industry in your new City.

Among other important Meetups are the NextWeb Web 2.0 Meetup and the NY Video 2.0 Meetup (web for video enthusiats). Both are super high quality and have a great mix of attendees.


I’ve written about NY tech blogs before, so read that. In short, here are the three blogs you must read: Silicon Alley Insider, nextNY Community Blog, and CenterNetworks.


Who’s who in Silicon Alley? Check out the Silicon Alley 100 for a list of everyone you need to know. Notable people missing from the list: David S. Rose (Chairman of the New York Angels, among other things) and Clay Shirky (esteemed NYU professor and author of Here Comes Everybody).


So, where is Silicon Alley?

Silicon Alley 2.0 is much like back in the Web 1.0 days, with most entrepreneurial activity centered around Broadway and stretching from 23rd Street and the Flatiron District down to Canal Street and SoHo.

Now, you’ll find companies all over, including DUMBO in Brooklyn, where the rent is cheaper, the spaces are bigger, and there’s easy access to Manhattan.


Money, ahh, money. The New York Angels is the largest, most active angel network in town. However, with as many rich people in town as there are, it’s not the only game in town. For a list of others, check this list.

As for VCs, Union Square Ventures is the most well know, followed perhaps by DFJ Gotham, SoftBank, FirstMark and  RRE, but there are many more. Also, check out NYC Seed, a new New York City-backed fund for local startups.

I’m sure I’ll update this post in the future. For now, welcome to Silicon Alley!

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