A few weeks ago, I was going out to dinner in New York City. As I waited for my friend to arrive outside the restaurant amidst all the people, traffic and noises of the city, I saw a woman walk out of a door adjacent to the restaurant.
Wearing a red dress covered in glitter, she waved to a crowd of adoring fans, stopping to smile and pose for pictures. A Maserati was waiting for her in the street, and a staff of four people were wiping down every inch of the car to make it look perfect before she got in.
Turns out, it was Chita Rivera, off to the Tony Awards. Only in New York!
The city has a unique energy. The vitality of the city makes it a fascinating place to live, but it can also be a lively place to grow a business. Here are a few reasons New York City can be a great place for startups:
1. More people, more opportunities
The sheer volume and density of people in the city is astounding. New York is the most populous city in the U.S. with close to 8.5 million people, according to the most recent census data -- and among the densest cities worldwide. The large population and concentration amps up the energy level of the city. Millions of people are rushing around, creating a fast-paced atmosphere that never stops.
What this means for startups: With a wide variety of diverse people from investors to partners to customers and others, finding and networking with the right people can be at a startup’s fingertips in New York.
2. The city that never sleeps
There’s always something to do in New York City. From Times Square, Greenwich Village, Central Park to museums, restaurants and shops, there’s an unending number of activity options no matter the time of day.
What this means for startups: There’s a big advantage to being in a city that never sleeps. Meet with an investor in a coffee shop or diner 24/7, entertain a visiting stakeholder at a myriad of awesome venues, or keep creative juices flowing at all hours of the night. In Silicon Valley, finding a neighborhood cafe open at 2 a.m. to keep new ideas coming and get work done is a challenge. In New York, it’s standard.
3. Entrepreneurial environment
New York is a city built from the ground up. The city is made of skyscrapers, lights, businesses and dreams that hard-working people created from nothing.
What this means for startups: The city is in tune with the entrepreneurial mindset. The ecosystem fuels innovation and inspires people to accomplish their goals and build new things for themselves.
Despite all the glitter and glamour, New York is a tough city. It’s not easy to live here. It’s not relaxing. It’s at times frustrating and overwhelming.
What this means for startups: Creating a startup involves the same emotions as living in a big city. It can be stressful and discouraging. But living in an environment that matches the internal struggle of running a startup can be invigorating. It can, though, be too much.
4. Conditioning for anything
“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere,” Frank Sinatra sang. There’s just as much or more opportunity in New York as any place in the world, but it’s up to the individual to seize those opportunities, which can be very difficult.
What this means for startups: If a startup can make it in New York City, it has already overcome a lot of challenges and difficulties that set it up to be a tougher company and make the founder a more resilient entrepreneur.
New York is a city full of both challenges and opportunities. For entrepreneurs who can tough it out and face obstacles head on, it can be a magical place to build a startup.
What do you love about NYC? What makes it the perfect place for startups? Tell us in the comments section below.