Sure, everyone is excited about New York tech. Everyone. But the fact remains the Big Apple has little office space to spare and a criminal shortage of engineers despite a much vaunted exodus from the West Coast. Some are undeterred though, which explains why foreign entrepreneurs are moving in and manning up to the challenges facing their fledgling companies. The truth is New York is not only attractive because of its prominence in cutting edge social media, but the timeless New York mystique is drawing ‘em in as well.
There are a few practical reasons why international entrepreneurs want to brave this new tech frontier and for all its shortcomings, there is a very bright silver lining. Take the case of Snapr, for example. The New Zealand startup which specializes in allowing users to share geo-tagged images has moved to the Big Apple. or at least its founders have. Rowan Wernham and Edward Talbot think New York is great. the food is amazing, VCs are generous, and getting around is super-convenient. There is one snag, however: they can’t bring their staff with them. First, there’s not enough workspace to go around. Second, living space is expensive. Third, they have no choice but to travel a lot, which can be daunting.
Wernham also elaborated on their motivations via an email: “We thought it might be easier to join an ‘emergent’ tech scene rather than an ‘institutionalized’ one like in the Valley. Since we don’t have huge track records working for massive companies or previous venture successes (and of course we are foreigners!) we thought we might have a hard time in SF where there were already stacks of ex-Google people, Y Combinator companies, etc.”