When Dina Kaplan co-founded blip.tv five years ago New York was a desert for Internet startups. Nowadays she can’t go to SoHo’s Cafe Select without seeing Web gurus like herself.
“It’s exciting for New York to have an emerging industry that’s growing,” said Kaplan, whose Web television platform in May raised $10 million and is expanding from 18 employees to 30. The company’s anniversary party is among 150 events during Internet Week, which kicks off today.
There’s a lot to celebrate. New York’s once-humble Silicon Alley has become a bona fide city industry. Startups here are taking some buzz from California’s vaunted Silicon Valley as Web entrepreneurs tap into New York’s media, advertising and fashion sectors.
“In the last five years or so, a whole community has been created where entrepreneurs and investors are meeting at Shake Shack and other places,” said Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future. “There’s a number of hot digital media companies in the city really making New York one of the centers of that sector.”
The nexus of local industries has helped, said Internet Week Chairman David-Michel Davies. “When you’re out in California talking about your company, you’re talking to other tech companies. In New York you’re talking to TV stations and magazines.”