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.
“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.