New York, New York: A Wonderful Start-Up Town

When the New York Times needed an entrepreneur to illustrate today’s story on the city’s increasing allure for tech start-ups, it turned to Doug Imbruce.

The 1999 Staples graduate “want­ed to start an in­ter­ac­tive video com­pa­ny in 2009, (yet) he had no luck find­ing in­vestors in New York,” Joshua Brustein wrote.

So he moved to Sil­i­con Val­ley — where ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists were re­cep­tive to his pitch — and found­ed Qwi­ki.

But in Feb­ru­ary, he de­cid­ed that be­ing so far away from the na­tion’s big me­dia com­pa­nies was sti­fling his start-up’s growth. So he moved back to New York, bring­ing the com­pa­ny with him. Qwi­ki, with 15 em­ploy­ees, now op­er­ates out of a So­Ho loft space.

Doug Imbruce

“We went to Sil­i­con Val­ley be­cause they un­der­stood how big we want­ed to get,” Mr. Im­bruce said, “and we moved back to ful­fill that prom­ise.”

The piece goes on to describe New York’s advantages over Silicon Valley — prox­im­i­ty to the me­dia, ad­ver­tis­ing and fash­ion in­dus­tries, for example (important now that the tech industry is focusing more on consumer products), as well as the “myopia” in the Valley.

Venture capital financing is changing too, the Times says.

When Mr. Im­bruce sought in­vest­ment for Qwi­ki in New York in 2009, his pitch fell flat. He did even­tu­al­ly find a Cal­i­for­nia-based in­vestor who of­fered to back the com­pa­ny, but on­ly if Mr. Im­bruce moved west and im­mersed him­self in the Sil­i­con Val­ley scene. He agreed, and soon found in­vestors to be much more re­cep­tive, to the tune of $10.5 mil­lion in fi­nanc­ing.

What even­tu­al­ly drew Mr. Im­bruce back to New York was the grav­i­ta­tion­al pull of the ma­jor me­dia com­pa­nies. Soon af­ter ar­riv­ing in New York, Qwi­ki be­gan meet­ing reg­u­lar­ly with ABC to dis­cuss how the net­work could use Qwi­ki’s tools. Last week, the two com­pa­nies an­nounced a part­ner­ship.

One response to “New York, New York: A Wonderful Start-Up Town

  1. When this article and these posters use the term ‘engineer’ are they stating people that have been credited with an ‘engineering degree’ ?

    Or as they really just talking about people that can code software and fling the title “engineer” on themselves, having no actual diploma in an engineering course of learning ?

    Being an ‘engineer’ has and does come with it many responsibilities that these software coders never deal with or have been made to understand.

    It is unforunate that designing and creating computer related software code for applications had to use the title “engineer”, it has reduced its rigor over these years.