Fred Wilson - New York's Web Industry from 95 to 08
1995 - 30 seed and early stage tech deals in NYC, 230 in Silicon Valley. In 2008 the numbers are more like 116 in NYC and 360 in San Francisco. From 1/8th to 1/3rd.
Let's bury the name Silicon Alley and call ourselves Broadway or New York. It's not an alley. It all started when Red Burns opens the ITP @ NYU in 1979. In 1989 Connect Times wrote about the launch of AOL. In 91 ZDNet was formed to bring Ziff-Davis media on-line. In 93 some New York dial-up companies were started. Jupiter started throwing conferences. New York was the center of the events business regarding the internet. Prodigy was in New York in 93. Total NY, Razorfish, and Pseudo were started up in 94. Silicon Alley came about in this time. TimeWarner launched PathFinder, iGuide launched in 94, both failed and were gone by end of 90s. Created a technology oriented building out of a failed investment bank in 95. Seth Godin started permission marketing. Interactive agencies started getting real business in 95. Silicon Alley Reporter Radio Show in 1997.
Razorfish bought 4 companies in 1997 and agencies started buying everything they could. Kozmo.com was started in 1998, Fred Wilson invested in it, everyone in New York loved it at the time. Kids ask to this day "why is it not around?" 1998 was the last year of sanity in the first internet wave. In 99 the big offline companies finally wanted to come on-line. Hell broke loose in 1999. The party everyone remembers is the one Josh threw for the month of December. Jason Calacanis advice to HBS students in 99 "take whatever money you have left that you haven't given Harvard, leave school tomorrow, start an internet company."
2001 was difficult: layoffs, bankruptcies, etc. Rock bottom was 2002. Doubleclick's "welcome to silicon alley" was removed. Calacanis moved to California. It was bad. In 2003 Fred launched ABC. Tim and John coined Web 2.0. In 2003 Schachter turned on an IBM PC and started Delicious out here in New York. Union Square Ventures raised 125 million in 2004 and has since been invested in NYC start-ups. Etsy was launched in NY. Delicious was sold to Yahoo and people could see it was. Google came in 2006 and took over Port Authority. Largest operation they have outside of the Valley. Sergey just bought an apartment in the West Village. We're finally making money.
In 2007 there was lots of startup activity in the Alley. Buddy Media, TargetSpot, Path101, Tumblr.Today: Here we are and Web 2.0 Expo has come to NY City. What happens in NYC is more creative, more connected, different from the other startups. There might come a time when New York is 70 to 80 percent of the Valley.