Stowe Boyd of True/Slant has a new blog on the NYC Startup Scene called Hotbed. This is an awesome development. Cody Brown asked, I seconded, Chris Dixon approved, and now it seems we have all received. Awesome. Welcome Stowe!
Now that you're here, there's something I wanted to clarify. From your inaugural post:
New York City’s tech scene is expanding at an astonishing rate these days, which raises the obvious question: why now? And, if New York has all the right ingredients to create a rich and deep technology culture, why didn’t it appear earlier?
My theory is that New York lacked, until recently, a critical factor: smart early stage investors.
The other parts of the puzzle were in place: great schools, brainy entrepreneurs, and abundant media and PR people. But without the manure that VCs provide, what looked to be a great greenhouse was cold, and very little would grow.
It is manure that makes greenhouses hot, that makes them hotbeds, and the critical factor is now being provided by folks like Chris Dixon, Fred Wilson, and John Borthwick.
I think you have it backwards, my friend. NYC has an abundance of entrepreneurs, for the reasons you mentioned and more. In particular, lots of tech savvy would-be media folk like me and Cody have opted out of the media ash-heap and are deciding to do the startup thing. But there's a relative scarcity of capital relative to demand. Early stage investing in NYC is a small pond with not a ton of players.
This dynamic of abundant demand, scarce supply makes early stage investors feel that they can be choosy and risk-averse. They know there’s not a lot of competition, so why take lots of risk? Yet at the systemic level, people like me see the dynamic in action and consider heading West. But at the same time, folks like Ron Conway see the supply/demand imbalance and head East. Good deals are to be had, perhaps more so than on the West Coast.
What the NYC scene needs is more of this outside capital to flow inward. As it is, I myself am in California for 10 days playing this very game.
Also, umm, Fred and Chris are cool peeps and all, but let's get one thing straight right now: Startups happen because entrepreneurs make them happen. Entrepreneurs are the real fucking heros in this story, not VCs. We lead, they follow. Don’t forget that.
Obviously, Chris Dixon is an entrepreneur himself (Hunch). But based on blog visibility, it’s easy to get the impression that the NYC startup scene is happening because Fred Wilson and Chris Dixon are blogging about it. They are high-visibility champions and wonderful contributors to the community, giving us all an added sense of pride and support. But in so much as they act as a source of capital, they only enable.
It is the little guys you’ve never heard of who struggle, take risk, fail and create. Remember them, always.
Stowe, welcome to New York. We should grab beers sometime.