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Silicon Alley competes with Valley for high-tech paychecks

 

More and more tech companies are setting up shop in New York City, edging out Boston and making Silicon Alley number two to Silicon Valley when it comes to tech jobs.

According to the "New Tech City" study from the Center for An Urban Future, 1,000 new Internet and mobile technology companies have started up in New York since 2007. 

120,000 people are currently employed by tech companies in New York. The majority of these new companies are adding to that number every day.

"When we started off, it was three of us," Brian Long, co-founder of the mobile shopping application TapSave, told Fox News. "We doubled to six in the first couple of months, and we're probably going to add another six in the next couple months." More than 800,000 thousand people have downloaded the TapSave app in less than a year.

TapSave was hatched in a so-called "incubator," a city-sponsored shared workspace where entrepreneurs can pay as little as $400 dollars a month for a workspace, Wi-Fi and introductions to venture capital investors. The idea is to give fledgling companies a place to grow until they’re big enough to for their own headquarters in New York.

"They become successes and go out and take bigger space and hire more people and create more jobs," said Jerry Hultin, president of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. NYU-Poly operates three incubators in Manhattan and Brooklyn. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration invested $2.5 million in capital and real estate to get the network started.

"The mayor saw the unemployment rate and said this is unsatisfactory," Hultin said. "So that's one of the reasons we created these incubators to rejuvenate the economy."

Other one or two employee start-ups are finding similar success in privately owned, co-working environments, such as WeWork Labs in Manhattan. For between about $400 and $1,000 a month, entrepreneurs can rent a workspace with a New York address and bounce ideas off like-minded but unaffiliated officemates.

"WeWork provides work environments for startups that support and encourage connection, collaboration and innovation," company co-founder Miguel McKelvey told Fox News.

Ryan Charles, co-founder of a mobile shopping ap called CONSMR (pronounced "Consumer") says the system helped him grow his company.

"It was just myself and my co-founder,” said Charles, “Now we're up to four employees and now we're looking to hire a couple of developers as well."

It's not just start-ups that are taking advantage of the New York landscape. Established companies like Qwiki, which created an online multimedia editing program, moved its headquarters from San Francisco's SOMA to New York's SOHO to be closer to clients in media and publishing.

"New York is at the intersection of media and technology," chief operating officer Navin Thukkaram told Fox News. "We launched our Qwiki creator with some major news organizations, bloggers and influencers. If you think about where those people live, it's all here in New York." 

Qwiki has hired 11 people since moving to New York in February and is currently looking to hire more. Indeed, keeping up with the demand for qualified techies could be New York's biggest challenge going forward.

"As these tech companies continue to grow and get to the next level, they need more and more programmers and engineers." said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for An Urban Future. "A lot of companies are having real difficulty finding the top talent that they need."

Patrick Muncie of New York City Economic Development Corporation says the city's new Applied Sciences initiative will help fill that void, through the creation of new Cornell, NYU and Columbia University tech campuses in the city.

"Not only will these three projects lead to more than $33 billion in economic activity over the next three decades, but collectively they will more than double the existing number of full time graduate engineering students in New York City," said Muncie.