Entrepreneur

Streets Paved With Tech: A Black Techie in NYC

As technology is an amorphous, constantly evolving entity, I think most techies would agree with me that being involved in the tech sphere lends a level of constant excitement not to be had in other industries. Everyday there’s a chance for the next big thing to break, whether its a new piece of software, a way to improve our social interactions, or new gadget thats everyone’s clamoring to get their hands on. And although we’ve heard it many times before and we’ll hear it repeatedly going forward, there’s really no better time to be a techie than right now.

Especially if you’re a techie living in New York City. Technology is making a stand as the next big industry to make its mark on the Big Apple. We’ve proven our resilience, clawing our way back from a industry downturn almost as devastating as the effects of the economic downturn the county is currently facing. Certain pockets of the city are becoming burgeoning test beakers of tech as an increasing amount of startups settle in and begin shopping their wares. And with a healthy amount of VCs and angel investors to be found, NY’s Silicon Alley is becoming more of a boulevard with its idea-lined streets reaching into Brooklyn and beyond.

So what does that mean for African-American techies, especially those of us with ideas ready to take center stage? The sky’s the limit, if you’ve got the hustle to make the dream happen. The money is definitely here. Mayor Bloomberg announced a few weeks back that the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund had made its first tech investment, a $300,000 award to MyCityWay for the seed round. And with  $22 million dollars up for grabs, everyone can get a piece of the pie. In addition, Bloomberg and the city of NY have also shown their commitment to tech with an announcement earlier in the week that the city is in search of a Chief Digital Officer to supervise NYC’s use of social media and the Web. There was also yesterday’s “City At Your Fingertips” event, both big additions to this year’s NY Internet Week.

And it’s here during the eight day event that you’ll find the black techies. Chocolate sprinkles in a largely vanilla backdrop. So far, I’ve run into my usual black techie crew, but I also got to spend some time with new faces and hear some new ideas. I’ve met them at decidedly “FUBU” (For Us, By Us) events including the monthly SuperNodes mixer, the JWT Mulitcultural Mixer, and Interactive One’s shindig. I’ve met them at more of the mainstream events. I’ve met them in the subway heading back home to the Bronx, but what’s important is that I’ve met them and if the ideas I heard get a chance to fly, you will too — in a big way. The money’s here as well as the talent — the ingredients for a perfect storm of tech, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

6 Comments

Comments

Disappointed Viewer says:

No wonder a truthful comment by Chris went undiscussed: site copyright 2 years out of date, useless sidebar tweets and DISQUS comment threads on that none of the contributors will ever buy, etc. Another relatively hollow attempt by a AA-based web site to promote minority entrepreneurship. Please, get some posters who are older than 35 years old and have real successful entrepreneur businesses that can be validated.

Wayne Sutton says:

Loved this post and I hope NY entrepreneurs take advantage of the Entrepreneurial Fund.

Chris says:

P.S.

List the FUBU and major events so that people who read this can potentially follow-up on their own. A few references is admirable but don't withhold a more complete listing of events. Thanks.

Chris says:

As an accomplished software engineer born, raised and living in the NYC area, I have to seriously ask, “How many black 'techie' will actually see seed money from this fund.” Let's be real: the next hurdle African-American face, particularly entrepreneurs, is obtaining funding – whether that be seed money, mortgages, etc. What's more disturbing is that entrepreneurs such as myself can't even find minority managed and focus funding sources! I have literally seen “other” horrible, laughable business plans and concept demo get funding, whereas, quality African-American based plans and demos get polite applause and a business card. That's it. Nada! Sadly, I can almost guarantee that when we look at the distribution of funds 6-10 years from now, it certainly won't reflect the percentage of the NYC population.

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