Cross-posted from the tumblog
I think there are pros and cons to starting up in each city and as a startup founder here in New York, I’ve got my own take on the situation.
Yes, NYC is expensive. Yes, it is hard to compete against the high salaries that an engineer can make working in Finance. But you know what? If you’re determined to build a great startup, neither of those things will stop you from building it here in New York.
There are three things that a traditional technology startup needs: Employees, Users, And Capital.
NYC has all three, and in abundance. There’s a huge pool of design talent, and an ever increasing pool of passionate engineering talent that does not want to get sucked into the Finance cesspool. Along with that NYC is a real city, with real paying customers, not some echo chamber where everyone speaks the same language and no one cares about reality (yeah, sorry SF!). And then there’s the capital, which has traditionally been New York’s forte and now we’re seeing a lot of early stage capital expanding in the city as well.
What NYC doesn’t have is a dense startup culture. In my opinion, the Valley works because a pool of really smart, really well-connected people make it work, and this attracts even more people to move to the Valley. The NYC startup culture is a little less in your face. There’s a ton of networking events but there’s a big lack of serial entrepreneurs offering mentoring to first timers. Fred talked about it recently on his blog, and I think this is beginning to change and will continue to change as NYC sees more activity and more exits.
And that brings me to the reason for this post.
Starting a startup is a lonely path, filled with self-doubt and all kinds of seemingly insurmountable hurdles. The hardest thing to do is also the only thing to do for a startup, which is, to not die.
In order to make it easier for my fellow founders, I’d like to propose a new support group.
There are a ton of great events including, NYTM, Hackers and Founders (can’t believe it has become huge, over 400 members now and some excellent events, great job guys!), UltraLight Startups, Open Coffee, Entrepreneur’s Roundtable. The more the merrier, I say! The focus here is to provide an opportunity to learn, more than anything else.
Let’s call it Founder’s Anonymous. The goal is to get together people who’ve already taken atleast one step towards founding a company (could be as simple as having an idea and a domain) and bring them together for a small monthly event, where you get to meet people who are in a very similar situation to yours. Then we add in a guest speaker or panel each month, someone who has been in this spot before, an experienced founder, an angel or VC, someone from M&A at one of the web majors, someone who leads product or engineering at a successful start, etc. to come share their experiences on the various things that go into building a startup. How do you get started? Where do you get early users and traction from? How and when do you incorporate? Should you hire a profession PR firm? What’s the best lawyer/accountant to use? Do you know any good designers/developers? Questions like this and a lot more that comes up every day.
Now what does this group need to get started? Founders, Mentors and Sponsors. The event itself needs space, and needs to be free somehow.
What’s next? If you’re a founder, a speaker or a mentor, a sponsor get in touch. If you’ve got ideas or run a similar event, please drop me a note. If you just want to root for us, follow the blog and the twitter account for updates!