Every time I visit the Big Apple, a line from Stevie Wonder’s Living for the City flashes in my mind: “New York, just like I pictured it, skyscrapers and everything.”
But my mental picture of New York has evolved dramatically in the last few years—not the skyscrapers part, of course, but the “everything” that’s going on in their shadows. Everything now includes venture capitalists, angels and super angels, incubators (the city is teeming with incubators), and tons of startups, not just in media and advertising, but also in Web services, consumer retail, and even life sciences and, yes, cleantech. In fact, depending on how you count, New York has in just a few years risen past Boston to become the No. 2 hub for tech startups and venture deal making in the country. And, increasingly, it is drawing in existing technology and life sciences companies.
Which makes it a perfect place for Xconomy. Because providing in-depth, on-the-ground coverage of the business of technology and innovation—at startups and big companies—is what we are all about.
So, it is our great pleasure to announce the debut of Xconomy New York. The center of art, theater, finance, media, and advertising becomes the sixth city in our growing network, and the third we have added in less than a year. (Just click on any node on the map in the upper right hand corner of each page to view the news from that city, or you can read content from across the network on our national site, Xconomy.com.)
While New York is of course full of media companies and great reporters and editors, we nevertheless believe Xconomy fills a special void. Not only are our daily feature stories deeper than the norm, we don’t limit ourselves to information technology, the way most tech outlets do. We cover biotech and life sciences like few others. We cover cleantech. In short, we cover anything high-tech, because that is where growth in the economy is coming from—and new growth often arises from the boundaries or intersections of these traditional fields.
Xconomy New York will be led by author and former BusinessWeek senior writer Arlene Weintraub. Arlene, who has won awards from the New York Press Club, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the American Society of Business Publication Editors, among others, first joined BusinessWeek to cover the tech scene in Los Angeles during the Internet bubble days. Then she moved to the New York office, where she quickly established herself as one of the country’s leading writers on pharma, healthcare, and life sciences. Her book about the anti-aging industry, Selling the Fountain of Youth, was published by Basic Books last September. We are extremely fortunate to have Arlene join us fresh off her book tour.
Arlene, of course, will be supported by the rest of Xconomy’s world-class staff, all of whom will be contributing to Xconomy New York. (Please read more about our team, as well as our principles and ethics, on our About page.)
Arlene will more formally introduce herself tomorrow, along with some of her plans for Xconomy New York. But you can begin reading today: coming up later this morning will be Arlene’s profile of Columbia University tech transfer guru Orin Herskowitz, who is helping faculty turn everything from iPhone apps to cancer drugs into businesses and has grown the school’s licensing revenue to more than $150 million a year—and a piece I wrote detailing the views of Avalon Ventures’ Rich Levandov on why New York has become a tech startup hub.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the latest weekly columns by national biotech editor Luke Timmerman and Wade Roush, our chief correspondent, who writes about all matters Internet, as well as a piece by Bruce Bigelow, our San Diego editor, about New York mobile app startup Enterproid, which was just named grand prize winner of Qualcomm’s $100,000 QPrize.
Beyond the daily news coverage and feature stories by our journalists, Xconomy regularly includes columns, essays, advice, and sometimes complaints from a wide variety of guest writers—serial entrepreneurs, super angels, VCs, Nobel Laureates, and “ordinary” members of the innovation community. Their posts appear in our Xconomist Forum in the center of each city page. Anyone with an important idea to share can contribute to the Forum. But it remains the special home of our “Xconomists,” our unique body of advisors now totaling more than 250 across our six cities of operation.
Our inaugural group of some two dozen New York Xconomists includes investor and tech guru Esther Dyson; biotech pioneer Tom Maniatis of Columbia University; Merck chief strategy officer Merv Turner; Chris Dixon, co-founder of Hunch and Founder Collective; RNA interference pioneer Thomas Tuschl of Rockefeller University; Venrock partner David Pakman; and Foursquare product manager Siobhan Quinn.
And in the Xconomist Forum today, you will find ideas on how Boston and New York can join together to form an entrepreneurial dream team from James Geshwiler, a managing director of CommonAngels, New England’s leading angel group (and a lead investor in Xconomy).
The Xconomists will often take center stage at the events we plan to hold around New York to bring an even more personal dimension to what we do. In the past year alone, Xconomy has held more than 20 events around the country. These range from private dinner conversations and intimate evening forums to half-day conferences around topics like the new face of cloud computing, clean energy, mobile innovation, or the quest to cure cancer. The biggest of our events this year in terms of sheer numbers is VC65, celebrating the 65th anniversary of the birth of venture capital in America, to be held this Wednesday. Some 900 people will stream into MIT’s Kresge Auditorium to hear stories and insights form leading VCs and entrepreneurs from around the country. Make it up to Boston if you can—it should be a fantastic afternoon, followed by a grand reception in the MIT Museum.
Stay tuned for word about our New York events, which will begin this fall.
We are extremely grateful to be supported in our newest region by an innovative group of charter underwriters and partners who dare to take the plunge with a startup media company. They are: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Goodwin Procter, NYSE Euronext, and SRI International.
We are also joined by our venture capital members Avalon Ventures, Boston Millennia Partners; Dogpatch Labs New York, and Penny Black; investment banking member Progress Partners; and partner the New York Academy of Sciences.
A huge thank you to each and every one of our launch supporters!
We’re extremely excited to open in New York, where I worked as BusinessWeek’s technology editor in the early 1990s. We much appreciate the warm reception, offers of desk space, and story tips we have received over the past few months as we prepared for our launch—and the hunger for the type of stories we do. We hope you like what Xconomy is all about, and welcome your comments and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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