Sunday, April 4, 2010

The NYC Echo Chamber (It's a good thing!)

I've been lucky to be involved in the NYC tech community for almost four great years now. It's really been wonderful to see how the scene has come into its own, especially in the last 12-18 months. Although NYC has always been home to a vibrant group of companies, NYC's newest generation includes a bunch of rising stars ranging from FourSquare to Invite Media to Rent the Runway to Learnvest to Venmo to HotPotato to Stickybits to Kickstarter to Tracked to Aviary to Knewton to OMGPOP to Hunch (disclosure: last three are bvp investments), and many more. As these companies continue to succeed and reach new heights, I'm noticing there is a virtuous cycle taking place in NYC that hasn't existed before. Call it the NYC Echo Chamber.

With each new employee these startups bring into the fold, the NYC tech scene becomes an increasingly dense social fabric. We hang out together, drink together, go to NYC tech events together, follow each other on Twitter and on each other's blogs. The net result is that when a new (often times consumer internet) startup is launched in the city, it's not unusual for the startup to get some great NYC grassroots "press".

For example, I remember not too long ago, Venmo caught fire on Twitter. Many of us in the NYC community know the company's co-founder, Kortina and thus were both curious and supportive of his newest venture. As Kortina's inner circle started to experiment with Venmo, suddenly announcements of people Venmo-ing money ricocheted through my twitter feed and inbox from one New Yorker to another (and therefore beyond the NYC community). At least for me, for a couple days, NYC and Twitter felt like a Venmo echo chamber. Soon thereafter, Venmo closed a seed round from NYC-based RRE Ventures, Betaworks and Lerer Media Ventures.

As far as I'm concerned, this is fantastic. SF-based companies have benefited from this effect for some time (even in pre-twitter times given the focus of more traditional media on SF-based companies). But it's taken some time for NYC to reach the critical mass to belarge enough (and tight enough) to be able to serve as a great catalyst for many up and coming NYC-based startups. All in all, this is one echo chamber I'm honored to be a part of, and hope it continues to get louder.

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