In Fast-Growing New Tech City, Content is King

Hours before last night’s July New York Tech Meetup, Managing Director Jessica Lawrence sent an impromptu message to the group’s members: The community had just hit the 25,000 member mark, and she wanted to say, “Thank you.”

New York Tech Meetup (NYTM) is the epicenter of New York’s tech scene. The 850 tickets to New York Tech Meetup sell out in minutes each month, and overflow crowds gather at General Assembly and New Work City.

NYTM hit the 25,000-member milestone faster than anyone expected, adding 10,000 members in the previous 15 months alone. That growth mirrors New York Tech’s incredible run of success: Since 2007, VC deals in the New York region have increased by 32 percent, while they’ve decreased by 11 percent nationwide during the same time period, including a 10 percent drop in Silicon Valley.

Back in 2005—when New York’s tech industry ran a far-distant third to Silicon Valley and Boston—no one suspected that it would come to outpace the big boys.

All this growth has come without the help of a major, cohesive project. No one here is building the plumbing for an Internet 2.0. It also comes without the emergence of a signature tech powerhouse. Tumblr and FourSquare have had great success, but they’re no Microsoft, Amazon or Google.

Despite this dearth of tech empires, New York has rapidly emerged as the 2nd-largest tech hub in the world, and a recent study by NYC Future predicts that this exponential success will continue for some time.

The reason? The very nature of New York Tech. In New York, tech companies boost existing dominant industries: media, fashion, finance, art, education and advertising.

Most are providing that boost to existing industries through content.

The vast majority New York tech companies and the startups that demo at New York Tech Meetup are focused on content in some way. They’re helping brands create content, distribute content, share content, optimize content, analyze content, target ads towards content, connect sales to content. Others — like The Huffington PostGilt, and Refinery29 —  have created innovative content businesses unlike anything the world has seen.

“We are having a renaissance in New York,” Andrew Rasiej, chair of New York Tech Meetup told NYC Future, “because technology and content are marrying each other.”

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