Fundraising · Community Engagement

What's the difference between the Boston and NYC tech scenes?


December 19th, 2014

I hear a lot of talk of the NY tech scene and less about Boston, although I know Boston has "been around" for a long time. I'm contemplating a move and what I've heard so far is that Boston has more tech talent, but is smaller and doesn't have a great fundraising community. While NY is newer, fewer exits but potentially more promising from an activity and fundraising standpoint. Is this true?
Wanted to get thoughts from people who have experienced or live in them. Is this the right characterization?

Will Koffel Co-Founder at Outlearn

December 20th, 2014

I've built startups in both Boston (primarily) and NY (a few years).  The industry-focus is certainly one element of it, as others have mentioned.

Overall, NY is bigger.  Bigger everything.  So you get more great people, plus a ton more mediocre people.  The expats from finance wanting to get in on entrepreneurship and startups shapes the flavor of things a bit.  Means more money floating around, but also more finance people floating around. :-)

I find there are more solo founders and smaller teams in Boston, and I wish that Boston entrepreneurs were better about partnering up with 2-3 great people instead of worrying about founder equity stakes as much.

Boston has some great and growing companies, and the startup community is incredibly strong and tight.  It's a great place to come to get indoctrinated into that scene in a way that would be a challenge just starting out in NYC.

Stephen Huson Leader in Internet lead generation, SEM / PPC / SEO and analytics

December 19th, 2014

Based on my own anecdotal experience only, I would characterize Boston as being stronger in Enterprise technology, while NY is stronger in Consumer markets.  Again, anecdotal only, but something to think about depending on what your focus is.

Sanjeev Rao

December 19th, 2014

It is not clear what area your startup is in. Advertisng, media, gaming are stronger in NYC. 


December 19th, 2014

I don't have a specific startup I'm dedicated too yet. Have done several in the past, but I don't want to be tied to one vertical. I'm talking more overall experiences.

Khai Nguyen Value Investor, Host of Harvest Interview Series, Fund Due Diligence, FinTech

December 20th, 2014

Just from my experience, but for Harvest Exchange I've found Boston to be lacking in a strong FinTech community.  We raised money from outside Boston and have considered rellocating to NY because of it's strong FinTech scene.

Steven Schkolne Computer Scientist on a Mission

December 24th, 2014

I don't know much about either scene, but I've heard one of the reasons Silicon Valley blew up, while Cambridge has been a much cooler scene is because noncompetes are unenforceable in California. This allows the startup scene to have a lot more circulation of ideas and talent. (you can here people in the valley complaining about this - how people flee a dying startup to hop on the next one -- this can suck in individual circumstances, but is ultimately better for the overall output of the community).

MA and NY apparently both enforce noncompetes if certain conditions are met