Already a center of commerce and trade, New York City currently boasts one of the healthiest and most vibrant startup ecosystems in the world, according 2012 report from Telefonica, Startup Genome, and partners. CB Insights, which releases the New York Venture Capital Almanac, reports that more than $8 billion went into 1,205 deals over the last 3 years in this ecosystem alone. The report, which was compiled based on data from 50,000 users and ranks startup ecosystems in categories such as startup output, funding, performance, talent, support, mindset, trendsetter, and differentiation from Silicon Valley, places the New York City startup community 5th in the world behind not only the aforementioned Silicon Valley, but also Tel-Aviv, Los Angeles, and Seattle. One of the most significant findings of the report, however, is that New York is home to one of the most significant communities of female entrepreneurs in the United States. At 19% of the city’s entrepreneurs, women play a larger role in New York City than in any other major startup ecosystem. In fact, despite Silicon Valley’s reputation for leading the global startup community, women in New York own twice as many startups as in the city’s west-coast counterpart. Despite the success of women in New York City, however, it remains clear that the startup ecosystem there has quite a way to go before gender parity can be achieved. In this piece, we wish to take a look at a few of the initiatives through which women are pushed to become successful entrepreneurs in the New York City ecosystem.
Accelerators are the lifeblood of almost any startup ecosystem and New York is no different. In opening its doors in 2012, Women Innovate Mobile (WIM, on the left the three founders) became the first female-focused accelerator in the New York market. Aiming to imitate the success that Springboard Enterprises, which has attracted $6.2 billion in financing to female-founded startups in the Washington, D.C. market, WIM offers $40,000 in exchange for 8% equity. The accelerator lists only 3 companies (from 2012) in its portfolio, but it nonetheless demonstrates a commitment to promote female-founded companies.
For women looking to build their own startups, but not interested in an accelerator program, there are also are also female-focused angel investors in the NYC market. Golden Seeds, a New York-based investment group, offers seed-stage investment to women who manage to pass the application process. To date, the group says that they have 275 members who, along with their venture funds, have invested more than $60 million in the 60+ companies in the group’s portfolio. Though based in New York City, the organization also operates chapters in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Texas.
Women interested in becoming entrepreneurs in New York City do not even need to own their business, as there are clubs where they can learn the basics of creating a business before taking the plunge. One such club is In Good Company (on the left, a shot from their site), an organization founded in 2007 which offers classes and networking opportunities to those who apply. Other female-focused groups in the New York market include the NYC chapters of the Ladies Who Launch and New York Women Social Entrepeneurs groups and Meetup groups like the New York Women Entrepreneurs Network and the Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Network. New York is home to several annual festivals and forums dedicated to the promotion and discussion of female entrepreneurship, as well. Leading events include New York University's Women Entrepreneurs Festival, Forbes Women's Summit, the Women Entrepreneurs Rock The World conference, and more.
In summary, New York is currently home to one of the largest communities of female entrepreneurs in the United States. Perhaps though a combination of conferences, networking groups, and investors, women in this market have taken the initiative to found a startups. A large gender-gap remains, however, and it will take a greater effort to make progress towards parity.
Brendan Maynard, an American tech blogger who has previously written for GoalEurope and Inventures, is a new contributor to Startupbusiness News.