After leapfrogging Boston into second place behind Silicon Valley in the list of tech venture capital hubs, New York City is hoping to keep the momentum going with a new online tool designed to attract additional tech talent to the Big Apple. Unveiled on Tuesday by Mayor Bloomberg at Internet Week New York, the Made in New York City Digital Map provides a geographic overview of Gotham’s 600 technology industry-related companies. It also includes links to job listings and each company’s website, and will be updated continuously by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which created the map in cooperation with Internet Week New York.
“The map reflects the phenomenal development that is happening here,” Rachel Sterne, the city’s chief digital officer told Crain’s. Still, although New York was the country’s only technology region to post an increase in the number of venture capital deals between 2007 and 2011, and now only trails Silicon Valley in that category, much important work remains. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gotham trailed Silicon Valley, Boston, Texas, and Los Angeles during the first quarter of 2012 for the total dollar value of technology-driven venture capital deals. How those rankings and figures change throughout the rest of the year remains to be seen.
But the map is also useful for an important real estate-related purpose: it demonstrates just how attractive Silicon Alley and the neighborhoods below 34th Street have become to technology tenants. (You can see Silicon Alley clearly on the map: note the cluster of nearly 200 companies in the Flatiron District along Broadway). Although the reasons are numerous, the availabilities are not, which make new projects like 51 Astor Place and the World Trade Center towers so exciting for the local commercial real estate industry. Still, many of the companies listed on the city’s map aren’t candidates – yet – for top-flight spaces like those. But eventually they could be. And the fundamentals driving tenants’ decisions to be located downtown are in many ways the same, regardless of the transaction size.