SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


Which Is a Better City for Startups, San Francisco or New York City?

When people think of tech companies, the first major city to come to mind is San Francisco. The City by the Bay is the closest major hub in the Silicon Valley and itself plays host to the likes of Twitter, Square and Uber. But the West Coast powerhouse is seeing quite a bit of competition from the East Coast, New York City.

In terms of technology startups, San Francisco is the quintessential location, given the access to high quality engineers, venture capitalists, superb universities and a risk-taking culture that has taken about 50 years to cultivate,” wrote Chris Haroun, a partner at San Francisco-based Artis Ventures and a client of mine. “Also most other regions of the world don’t share ideas to the extent that Bay Area technology companies do.”

“…San Francisco is unique in that startups are central to the culture and business climate of the city,” wrote Kelly Wanser, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Stateless Networks. “Everywhere you go, there are startup founders, investors and employees talking shop and people, services and events to help startups grow and thrive.”

Calling San Francisco as a major center of talent in technology, engineering and business innovation, Wanser said “in my industry, networking, it’s the locus of all major players and the geniuses and legends who shape the technology that drives everything we’re using, from chips to software to the Internet itself.”

Yet Wanser allowed that New York City had its advantages. In certain spaces New York City rules,” Wanser said. “For startups centered on design, media, fashion, it’s an unparalleled place. The energy, aggressiveness and staggering creative talent may make it the world’s best place to have a startup in these fields.”

“The sheer diversity of New York City makes it a great place for finding tech talent,” wrote Kevin Bijas, director of the New York branch of Riviera Partners, a tech-focused recruiting firm based in the Bay Area. “Startups thrive on scrappiness and want people who don’t rely on a lot of set systems, processes and resources to get stuff done. Plus, they need to move fast, like this city and the people in it.”

…When it came to lifestyle issues, San Francisco scored some kudos.

“New York City is great but I like San Francisco better because it’s a more livable city,” said Ryan Donovan, vice president of corporate communications at San Francisco-based Practice Fusion, which offers a cloud-based electronic health record platform. “It’s easy to get around, the weather is perfect and there’s so much that’s near us. Wine country, Tahoe, Mendocino, Monterey — the list goes on and on — all within minutes or a few hours. It’s also a great talent market, particularly for technology expertise.”

Read more: Entrepreneur (blog) Which Is a Better City for Startups, San Francisco or New York City?